Which language do raw materials speak?

The ORAMA Project, a Horizon 2020 initiative developed to optimise a European system containing information on raw materials, was born 2 years ago with the intention of identifying best practices in the EU.

Steel, aluminium, copper, plastics – would we always be able to say which of them were used to build our fridge, dishwasher or oven? Raw materials are the main protagonists of our home appliances while, at the same time, the most often undervalued.

The ORAMA Project, a Horizon 2020 initiative developed to optimise a European system containing information on raw materials, was born 2 years ago with the intention of identifying best practices in the EU to fill the gaps that were spotted in how Member States collect data on primary and secondary raw resources.

“Today, around ⅔ of precious resources remains undocumented, which means that they don’t come back to material loops as secondary raw materials and are, therefore, lost” said Korrina Hegarthy, APPLiA’s Environment Director, at ORAMA’s final event on 22 November. Closing the gaps in raw materials’ data collection is the first and fundamental step to improve the quality and quantity of recovered secondary raw materials from WEEE. Primary raw materials should speak the same language of secondary raw materials. The harmonisation of statistics between primary and secondary resources would facilitate the identification of recycling opportunities for products.

Raw materials should speak the same language at national and EU level. ORAMA has indeed aimed at creating a system to transfer information stored by Member States to an EU common data system, which would allow the correct communication between material flows.

Recycling practices are on the rise and a lot has already been achieved at EU level. “90% of the materials coming from the officially collected appliances are recovered”, Korrina Hegarty continued, highlighting how tracking materials is the right shift to enhance circularity and Circular Culture.

Looking at the future, an EU wide study could be the way forward to support the deployment of a monolingual market for primary and secondary raw materials to further advance the circular culture model.