The main objective of the Refer project is the estebilishment of an international network of novel, education-driven, repair-based events. The scope of these events will see them being hosted for the general public across 6 countries in Europe,  allow peolple to bring their electronic devices such as a mobile phones and tablet to be repaired.

Attendees will sit down with expert repair volunteers and staff to understand how the technology works, identify the problem and fix the device – all for free. By focusing on the repair aspect of the personal devices, this allows the project to engage with the target audience on CRMs, providing information and educational material about issues.

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Raw materials are crucial to the world economy and essential to maintaining and improving the quality of life therein. They are of paramount importance in the modern, technological world and the potential for supply interruptions would be very distruptive to the economy and society.

Electronic devices are an excellent conduit through which to approach the general public about raw materials. Electrical and electronic equipment are the product with the hightest concentration of CRMs in the marketplace.

While recycling technlogies for some key materials are in place thus far there is no no recovery of high-tech elements and rare elements is attempted for most WEEE with close to zero recovery rates. A number of EU projects and papers have highlighted the fact that no technological solution or market to this problem are expected for at least 15 years.

Immediately when they arrive the waiting areas will contain posters and printerd materials so the engagement begins from the first moment they arrive. Repairers will engage the partecipants in discussion on the nature of the technology, the range and the amounts of CRMs and other scarce resources used and what can be done to address the lack of such resourches.

Some of the key points to be raised in such discussions will be the increased use of critical raw materials, rare earth elements and other scarce metal and resources in modern-day consumer producs.

The project brings together outstanding companies, SMEs, universities and research organizations and branch organizations, from Italy, Spain, Sweden, Belgium and Ireland, to increase awareness and educate high school students across Europe on one of the most acute and relevant challenges that our consumer society currently faces: the large volume, technical complexity and criticality of electronic waste and related RMS. Moreover this project is strongly connected with other two projects in the EIT Raw Materials Education Issue; E-Mining@School and Refer project.

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For more information on the Refer project, visit the official project wesbite. If you are interested in joining the community of local repairers, please fill in this Google Form (in Italian only). You won’t miss any repair event organized in Trentino, and you could give your availability as a voluntary repairer as well.

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