The Future Availability of Secondary Raw Materials (FutuRaM) project commenced on 1st June 2022 and will play a key role in ensuring a secure supply of secondary and critical raw materials from within the European Union.

Raw materials are crucial for the operation of industries worldwide and necessary for the creation of most products. However, raw materials are finite, which affects their demand, supply and cost. The exploitation of the urban mine, consisting of waste streams, can however improve the availability of raw materials by boosting the supply of secondary raw materials to the European industries. Unfortunately, little is known about the recoverability and availability of the secondary raw materials contained in waste streams. This knowledge gap makes it challenging to drive a green push through urban mining. The EU-funded FutuRaM project aims to change this by introducing a strategy, reporting structure and guidelines for raw materials’ use, which will massively improve our data and knowledge on those materials. The findings will assist in assessing waste stream recoverability and secondary and critical raw materials recycling, which are significant for a green future. 

Enabling commercial exploitation of secondary and critical raw materials

FutuRaM will integrate secondary raw materials (SRM) and critical raw materials (CRM) data to model their current stocks and flows, and consider economic, technological, geopolitical, regulatory, social and environmental factors to further develop, demonstrate and align secondary raw materials recovery projects with the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC), a tool that enables a better understanding of the viability of raw material projects. This will enable the commercial exploitation of SRMs and CRMs by manufacturers, recyclers, and investors. Moreover, the knowledge base developed in the project will support policy makers and governmental authorities. 

FutuRaM will focus on six waste streams which represent an important source of CRMs:  

  • batteries 
  • electrical and electronic equipment 
  • vehicles 
  • mining 
  • slags and ashes 
  • construction and demolition 

The research team

Research partners comprise researchers from top EU research institutes and leading Geological Surveys to be able to achieve high-quality data for the different waste streams. The institutes comprise 

Furthermore, the project participants and partners 

  • provide expertise in foresight and scenarios development 
  • have strong ties to industry and producers, to get unique industry and producer data into FutuRaM 
  • produce official statistics on mining activities and co-custodian for monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12 
  • have close contacts to official statistics Eurostat and are nationally mandated to work on circular economy monitoring of secondary raw materials and raw materials demand 
  • participate in recycling/recovery experimental projects, like VITO. 

What is the role of VITO?

One of the main roles of VITO in the project considers our expertise from the development of the United Nations Framework Classification for Anthropogenic Resources, aimed at offering a consistent and globally accepted procedure for assessing the feasibility and viability of urban mining initiatives. Throughout the different work packages, VITO is also responsible for the development of data, information and insights with respect to the waste stream called ‘SLASH’, consisting of slags (fresh and old) from metal production, and bottom and fly ash from combustion processes.

Follow the FutuRaM project on social media:  

+32 14 33 59 24