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Sandvik introduces industry’s first ‘opt-out’ carbide recycling

Sandvik is introducing an industry-first ‘opt-out’ recycling programme for customers of carbide drill bits. The initiative aims to transform the use of a material expected to run out within 40 to 100 years if consumption rates continue unabated.

Tungsten, a key component in cemented carbide, is a scarce and finite material. Making tools from recycled carbide requires 70% less energy and emits 64% less CO 2 . It also reduces nitrous oxide emissions. Sandvik aims to collect 90% of its own used bits by 2025. Other manufacturers’ used bits can also be recycled within the scope of the new initiative.

“Our breakthrough opt-out programme supports our customers’ drive to mine more sustainably and demonstrates our commitment to delivering on Sandvik’s ambitious sustainability goals to halve CO 2 emissions by 2030,” said Jens Holmberg, President of Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ Rock Tools division. “We are determined to lead the industry into a new era, fully committed to embed circularity across an essential component of mining.”

The demand for certain minerals is estimated to grow 500 % by 2050 (source: World Bank Group, Report, Washington 2020), and recycling of drill bits is an important part of making the mining industry more sustainable. Historically, carbide recycling has faced several challenges. Collection of used products has been limited while carbide extraction has been cumbersome, inefficient and involved hazardous ways of working. The zinc recycling process has not returned the same quality of carbide performance, either. Sandvik is now able to help customers overcome these challenges through its new opt-out programme.

“Customer response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Holmberg said. “We need to transition our industry at an unprecedented speed. Our recycling programme is one of many new initiatives you will see from Sandvik’s Rock Tools division moving forward. We are an industry leading supplier in mining globally, and we need to do everything in our power to support and push the industry forward.”

To further underline the importance of cemented carbide recycling, Sandvik is offering its customers an industry first extraction support. This will make it easier, faster and safer to recycle dull drill bits with a new patent pending method that will reduce emissions from transportation with 93%.


The launch of the opt-out programme coincides with the launch of a new global campaign that address the stresses often associated with recycling. Almost 70 percent of people in the U.S. are worried about climate change, and 51% report feeling”helpless.” Miners are not immune to these stresses and strains.

More people are now addressing their anxiety, stress and mental wellbeing, often with the use of relaxing and soothing online content. This has inspired the ‘Calmness of Recycling’ campaign. Built around a ‘slow TV’ format, the one-hour relaxing film highlights the benefits of carbide recycling while encouraging everyone to experience the calmness and wellbeing of recycling. The film will be available at

“Our carbide recycling program is not only a good decision for the environment,” Holmberg said. “It also creates a sense of calm about doing the right thing.”

Sandvik Group

Sandvik is a global, high-tech engineering group providing solutions that enhance productivity, profitability and sustainability for the manufacturing, mining and infrastructure industries. We are at the forefront of digitalization and focus on optimizing our customers’ processes. Our world-leading offering includes equipment, tools, services and digital solutions for machining, mining, rock excavation and rock processing. In 2022 the Group had approximately 40,000 employees and revenues of about 112 billion SEK in about 150 countries within continuing operations.

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions

Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions is a business area within the Sandvik Group and a global leading supplier of equipment and tools, parts, service, digital solutions and sustainability-driving technologies for the mining and construction industries. Application areas include rock drilling, rock cutting, loading and hauling, tunnelling and quarrying. In 2022, sales were approximately 57 billion SEK with about 16,200 employees.

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