Circular Economy for Materials Processing


About this course

Brief description of the course: Students will learn about the whole raw materials value chain, i.e., from exploration, mining, processing, and manufacturing to material recycling and re-use. Students are looking at metals and minerals from a resource efficiency and circular economy perspective. The virtual course materials (presentations, short videos, additional materials) consist of 6 major themes assembled by researchers from 8 European universities. Major themes are:

  1. Business and policy landscape. Circular economy and definitions - UN goals and definition of sustainability, number of environmental legislation, tools to measure sustainability
  2. Materials and available resources (all materials)- interlinked with theme 1. Including different materials and their properties, what they can be used for, and briefly, how they are produced. Also, an overview of critical resources and availability of reserves.
  3. Exploration and impact and mining plus impact (metals and minerals) - production of mining of minerals, where you can find the deposits, and how by-products from mining can be handled.
  4. Processing and re-processing of materials (all) - production processes of steel, non-ferrous metals (zink, copper etc.), and other materials (glass, paper, ceramics, plastics).
  5. Manufacturing (design) and use-phase (all) - includes further processing of materials, design of the product with the use-phase, and end-of-life stage of the products in society.
  6. Recycling and re-use (plastics, ceramics, wood, pulp, and metals) - end-of-life recycling of products and applications. Recycling systems in countries, the EU system (product directives). Waste management facilities and equipment, how are materials sorted, and how much do we recycle.

NB! This course will take place in autumn semester 2024/2025 which starts on 2nd of September and ends 26th of January (you can find that information under Start date section). The real course start and end dates will be announced at the beginning of September at the latest.

Learning outcomes

After completing this course, the student:

  • defines basic concepts of circular economy, describes materials flow (from mining, processing, manufacturing until end-of-life recycling and re-usage), lists issues and drivers for changes;
  • can explain the role and importance of the field in society;
  • recognizes impacts (environmental, economic, and social) of the current practice of materials processing from a sustainability aspect;
  • gets an idea of how to create new business opportunities to re-enter materials into the circular economy.


Final assessment can consist of one test/assignment or several smaller assignments completed during the whole course. After declaring a course the student can re-sit the exam/assessment once. Assessment can be graded or non-graded. For specific information about the assessment process please get in touch with the contact person of this course. For specific information about grade transfer please contact your home university


lectures, exercises

Additional information

  • Credits
    ECTS 6
  • Level
  • Contact hours per week
  • Instructors
    Karin Robam
  • Mode of instruction
    Online - time-independent
If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of TalTech (Estonia).


  • Start date

    2 September 2024

    • Ends
      26 January 2025
    • Term *
      Fall semester 2024
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      14 May - 29 Jul 2024
    Only 8 days to enrol
    Apply now
These offerings are valid for students of DTU (Denmark)