The project, CLEVER - Closed Loop Emotionally Valuable E-waste Recovery, is driven by the need to address the negative global environmental and consequences of the current "throw-away" approach to consumer electronics and their components, which are replaced at a rapid rate, but for which recycling of components is still the exception rather than the rule.

The Bath-led project, in collaboration with researchers from Oxford, Newcastle, Loughborough and Surrey, aims to address this with a combined engineering, scientific, social and environmental approach that will help to keep valuable resources, such as scarce metals, in a closed loop rather than allowing these to become dispersed.

Successful lead investigator Janet commented: "The problem our ‘CLEVER’ consortium aims to tackle is a significant one in terms of resource efficiency and is symptomatic of some of the problems that rapid turnover in items such as consumer electronics brings.

"I am pleased that we are able to lead this exciting interdisciplinary project, and the fact that Bath hosts the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies will undoubtedly help us in providing the leadership and research environment in which such a collaboration will thrive."

The EPSRC IDEAS Factory sandpit events are dynamic, intensive, interdisciplinary research-oriented events seeking to identify new collaborative approaches to significant scientific and technological challenges.

Providing a real hot-house environment, success in these sandpits requires excellent science ideas, a broad outlook and the ability to synthesise ideas from a range of disciplines, as well as tight teamwork, to produce a compelling, exciting, proposal that must win funding in competition with others created during the event.