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Chemistry of Sustainable Recycling

The course focuses on recycling technology for various main and by-products from industry.

You will learn the basic concepts of recycling and the chemical aspects that are required to achieve sustainable recycling within a circular economy.  

Several different types of waste will be discussed, both inorganic and organic polymeric waste, as well as their significance for industrial applications.

The chemical and process engineering aspects are discussed to provide a realistic description of current recycling technologies.

The course deals with various aspects of green chemistry, including methods for achieving safer material production and preventing accidents. The course will also cover toxicological aspects of recycling.

  • Course structure

    Theoretical part (4.5 ECTS)

    • Introduction to circular systems with respect to recycling. Thermodynamics of recycling, critical raw materials, eco-efficiency vs. eco-effectiveness, life cycle analysis, desired purity levels of recycled materials. Case studies*.
    • Steps of the recycling chains. Mechanical methods for preparation of waste to recycling. Thermal and chemical methods (including the basics of electrochemistry)
    • Recycling of materials. Recycling of metals and metal-containing waste. Case studies.Recycling of plastics and paper. Recycling of glass, ceramics, slag and ashes. Recycling of basic oils and solvents. Case studies*.
    • Recycling of cars, batteries and electronics. Analysis of individual components with respect to sustainability and Green Chemistry. Case studies*.
    • Toxicological aspects of recycling. Identification of potential hazards and toxicological aspects. Case studies*.
    • Repurpose and re-use. Valorization of waste for secondary life. Case studies*.

    *Case studies will assist you to develop an understanding of the chemical aspects related to sustainable recycling. There will be assignments that are due prior to each lecture with a case study.

    Laboratory exercises (3 ECTS)

    • Electrochemical recycling of metals. Electropolishing, electrochemical separation of metals.
    • Recycling of Li-ion batteries. Physical and chemical separation of battery components, electrodeposition of metals, valorization of used batteries by conversion into catalysts for hydrogen generation
    • Chemical recycling of poly(ethylene)terephthalate (PET). 
    • Water purification. Removal of metal pollutants and photochemical removal of organic pollutants


    Theoretical part, 4.5 ECTS

    Laboratory exercises, 3 ECTS

    Teaching format

    Lectures and assignments
    All lectures contain selected case studies linked to assignments. You will receive assignments that will be graded and counted towards the overall grade. In addition, you will work in a small group on a case study that the group will present to the class. 

    Laboratory reports (electronic and print) that are corrected until the level of reporting is acceptable.

    Learning outcomes and our expectations on you

    Upon completion of the course you should be able to:

    • Conduct case studies in the course theme and communicate the findings in writing and orally
    • Perform a financial estimate of a given recycling strategy 
    • Critically evaluate waste recycling techniques with regard to sustainability 
    • Describe the manufacturing process for products with respect to a circular economy
    • Read, communicate and critically evaluate course-related scientific literature.

    You will be expected to:

    • Attend the lectures and participate in the group discussions.
    • Present your laboratory results in writing and as a presentation to the class
    • Demonstrate your learning by mandatory written exam.


    Completion of group case study and lab reports on time.

    Written exam (90%) and assignments (10%).


    Adam Slabon
    Phone:      +46-8-161256(office)

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course reports

  • Contact


    Adam Slabon
    Phone:      +46-8-161256(office)

    Chemistry Section & Student Affairs Office


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