Critical Materials and Resource Efficiency Group (CARE)

The Critical Materials and Resource Efficiency (CARE) group addresses the implications of novel material and emerging technology applications on society’s material metabolism with a particular fo-cus on closing material cycles. We build our research upon our long-lasting practical and scientific ex-perience in recycling of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and the analysis of material stocks and flows in different sectors.

Our research focuses on the following:

  • Characterization of the urban mine: Materials are increasingly shifting from geogenic (pri-mary) into anthropogenic (urban) mines. In order to be able to design efficient and effective reverse supply chains we generate knowledge about their distribution, properties and behav-iour in the anthroposphere.
  • Assessment of materials stocks and flows induced by emerging technology applications: Emerging technologies are associated with material stocks and flows affecting society’s mate-rial metabolism. We describe and evaluate material stocks and flows associated with possible trajectories to a more sustainable society with regard to natural environment and societal con-straints as well as requirements of a circular economy.
  • Guidance for more sustainable, resilient material management systems:  Based on our knowledge and expertise derived from research we provide guidance for the design of more sustainable, resilient material management systems, with a particular focus on materials recov-ery in different societal contexts. This includes knowledge transfer both to industry and policy makers in order to allow for informed decision-making. The particular situation of material re-covery in development country settings is addressed through North-South research and de-velopment cooperation projects.
Contact

Heinz W. Böni

Empa
Technology & Society Laboratory
Lerchenfeldstrasse 5
CH-9014 St. Gallen
Tel.: +41 58 765 78 58