Recycling Precious Metals in e-Waste For A Brighter Future


The proper treatment of WEEE (e-waste) has been a strong concern of governments, manufacturers and others due to its contents of both valuable resources and toxic substances. In 2018, Umicore became the first company to be third party audited and approved to the recently published CENELEC standard on the final treatment of copper and precious metal bearing WEEE-fractions (such as printed circuit boards or mobile phones). We are committed to using this tool to create a responsible and level playing field for WEEE recycling globally.


Umicore is a global materials technology and recycling group, generating the majority of its revenues and dedicates most of its R&D efforts to clean technologies, such as emission control catalysts, materials for rechargeable batteries and recycling.

Umicore’s overriding goal of sustainable value creation is based on an ambition to develop, produce and recycle materials in a way that fulfills its mission: materials for a better life.

Umicore Precious Metals Refining operates the world's most sophisticated precious metals recycling facility. We recover 20 precious and non-ferrous metals from industrial residues, used electronic scrap, automotive and industrial catalysts and fuel cells.

In today's industrial society, the use of different metals has increased tremendously and industrial residues and end-of-life products are becoming more and more complex. To compete with this increasing demand and complexity, Umicore Precious Metals Refining has expanded its operations in Hoboken, Belgium. Our processes are based on complex lead/copper/nickel metallurgy, using these base metals as collectors for precious metals and other metals.

Umicore’s main contribution to a more sustainable world centers on the products and services we provide to our worldwide customer base. The areas where we can make the most telling contributions are:

  • Resource scarcity: in today's world, metals are in greater demand but are becoming ever scarcer. Umicore's recycling capabilities recover more than 20 elements including precious and other metals.
  • Clean air: worldwide efforts towards stricter emissions standards provide global growth opportunities in automotive catalysts, for both light- and heavy-duty vehicles.
  • Vehicle electrification: the growing market for lithium ion batteries is driving demand for our rechargeable battery cathode materials.

These areas are a part of Umicore’s Horizon 2020 Strategy.