Rikarnto, Senior Technical Advisor at EuRIC has been focussing on legislative developments – including the revision of the EU Batteries Directive – related to batteries. What is more, he is a member of the Batteries Roundtable, an initiative created by a number of organisations including EuRIC and project partner WEEE Forum – whose purpose is to address the problem of battery fires in the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) value chain.

Since a very young age, my fascination with recycling and environmental conservation has been a defining aspect of my life. From the moment I learned about the importance of recycling and its potential to mitigate environmental degradation, I was hooked. My passion for recycling stemmed from a deep-rooted belief in the power of individual actions to drive positive change for our planet. I was captivated by the idea of turning waste into a valuable resource and reducing our ecological footprint through responsible consumption and disposal practices.

The biggest challenge in WEEE recycling today lies in their design. Designing products for longevity and easy disassembly ensures they remain relevant in the market while facilitating efficient recycling at the end of their life cycle. Additionally, improving collection infrastructure and raising awareness about proper disposal methods remain key challenges in maximising WEEE recycling rates.

Producers must prioritise designing products that are easily dismantlable to facilitate efficient recycling and reduce environmental impact.

E-waste recycling facilities often encounter fires attributed to the inclusion of lithium batteries in WEEE. The GRINNER project focusses on pioneering technologies aimed at reducing the incidence of such fires. Drawing from my expertise in legislation pertaining to electronics manufacturing, as well as my contributions to drafting two reports on the topic of battery fires in collaboration with the members of the batteries roundtable, made me a good candidate for the advisory board.

GRINNER has really the potential to help the waste management industry to reduce the frequency of battery fires which not only results in extreme costs for waste operators but it’s also at odds with the circular economy concept – since burned WEEE cannot be recycled and hence resources are being lost.