Pilot success sees Colt extend metal recycling project

We have been working with Urban Miners to carry out a pilot in Sweden which focused on recovering valuable materials from old equipment. Due to its great success, the pilot will now be rolled out further.

As part of our network upgrade project, we partnered with metals recycling company Urban Miners to analyse our decommissioned SDH equipment and understand which materials could be reused or recycled. An impressive 99.4% of the equipment picked up was either recyclable or reusable, amounting to 8.7 metric tonnes in weight. The pilot also enabled C02 savings of 19 tonnes.

The process frees up space, can take place with minimal disturbance to our business, and allows us to become a net provider of EU strategic metals as our new equipment uses less materials.

Reversed manufacturing makes great recycling

Minerals are crucial because they underpin modern technology and infrastructure but mining for metals in particular (where there is an increase in consumption) is expensive and can have significant environmental impacts. Mining is responsible for around 7% of annual forest loss and its sustainable impact can include soil erosion, water contamination and air pollution. But the negatives and positives must be weighed up.

The mining and processing of minerals is key to transitioning economies and industries to more sustainable technologies such as electric vehicles and renewable energy. So, if we want to enable the path towards net zero carbon, more metals and minerals need to be mined.

It’s vital therefore that the environmental impact is reduced to a minimum. Efforts are being made with the mining industry to achieve this and there is a growing emphasis on sustainable and responsible mining practices as well as the promotion of recycling and the development of alternative materials.

This is an area where tech companies can make a real difference. It was reported that 55.5m metric tonnes of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2020, with an increase of 30% expected by 2030. Of the 55.5m, just 17.4% was documented to be collected and properly recycled.

Recycling and upcycling materials is a process we are really passionate about at Colt and this pilot is just one of the many sustainable initiatives being carried out as part of our broader ESG strategy.

Optimised metal recycling with Urban Miners

In the pilot project, we were able to calculate the amount of materials that didn’t need to be mined thanks to the recycling process. This was approximately 102 metric tonnes including, but not limited to, iron, coal, bauxite, copper, limestone and chrome.

With accurate data collection being such a tricky task in the ESG sector, it’s been great to work with Urban Miners who have produced robust sustainable reporting on the project. Hear what our Environmental Sustainability Manager, Claire Coulson, had to say on this topic:

“Partnering with Urban Miners supports the ESG team’s objective to continually improve carbon emissions data. As well as calculating avoided tCO2e, it’s great that Urban Miners are able to provide data on avoided quantities of virgin materials being mined. This data is often hard to come by yet is very useful for understanding the wider positive implications of circular economy initiatives.”

We are now continuing the great work with Urban Miners in Germany where equipment has already been picked up in Hamburg and Hannover.

If you’re interested in learning more about our ESG strategy or want to see what other green initiatives we are carrying out, download our latest sustainability report.

Man working on equipment during the metal recycling pilot with Colt and Urban Miners


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