Tackling global e-waste with Network 2 Supply and Coventry University

Coventry University have partnered with Network 2 Supply (N2S), a leader in IT lifecycle services, to develop Bioleaching, a technique that uses bacteria to safely extract and recycle precious metals from electronic waste (e-waste). With over 50 million tonnes of e-waste generated globally each year and existing recycling methods cause a loss of precious metal and the release of dangerous toxins, this new response to the e-waste challenge is gaining international acclaim.

Read more below.

The Industry Partner

N2S are based in Bury St Edmunds & Mansfield, they are the UK’s market leader in IT lifecycle services which include WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) compliant IT Recycling and Data Destruction services (accredited by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

N2S are passionate about increasing the circular economy of IT equipment in two ways; through encouraging resale/re-use and innovating environmentally friendly processes for extracting of metals from redundant technology.

The Challenge

E-waste (electronic equipment waste) is the most rapidly growing waste stream in the world, with over 50million tonnes generated globally each year. Millions of people across the world are thought to work informally recycling these materials through open burning, exposing themselves and the environment to toxic fumes which then find their way into the water supply and food chain, poisoning animals and humans.


Formal recycling of printed circuit boards has traditionally come with a large carbon footprint, printed circuit boards can travel thousands of miles to refineries where they are incinerated and a lot of the valuable material lost and not recovered.

The Solution

N2S has partnered with Coventry University through the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme. This partnership has allowed N2S to access the expertise of  Dr Sebastien Farnaud and Professor Derek Renshaw from the University’s Health and Life Science faculty, supporting them to develop an innovative solution to extract the valuable material within printed circuit boards through Bioleaching techniques.

For more information on Bioleaching contact Associate Professor Sebastien Farnaud.

To learn more about KTPs contact Dr James Convery.

Further reading