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Recycling of plastics from electronic waste

The aim of PLAST2bCLEANED is to develop a recycling solution for plastics from Waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) - such as computers, TV-sets, fridges and cell phones.

Want to know more about PLAST2BCLEANED?

Get in touch with Esther Zondervan

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WEEE is is one the fastest growing waste streams in the EU. The reason for this is that the number of electronic goods increases, whereas life span of these products decreases at the same time. Yearly, 1.2 Million of tonnes of mixed plastics arise from WEEE treatment in Europe.

WEEE plastics often contain undesirable contaminants that hamper recycling. 75% of European WEEE is currently exported to Asia where these products are recycled into new plastics that contain hazardous substances or end up in landfill, thereby resulting in the leaking of hazardous substances. Therefore  an economically viable technological solution is urgently needed for the recycling of WEEE plastics.

PLAST2bCLEANED

PLAST2bCLEANED is developing such a recycling solution. To fulfil this aim, PLAST2bCLEANED addresses the recycling of the most common WEEE plastics, which are ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and HIPS (high impact polystyrene).

Key technologies

PLAST2bCLEANED develops the following key technologies:

  • Pre-process to sort and separate flame retardant containing HIPS and ABS from other plastics fractions;
  • Dissolution of WEEE plastics in superheated solvents;
  • The removal of additives to collect bromine and antimony fractions, and to remove other unwanted additives from the polymer;
  • Recovery of polymer and solvent. In this way, three loops will be closed: (1) polymer, (2) bromine and (3) antimony trioxide.

Demonstration of the solution

The developed technology will be integrated in a pilot plant at TRL 5 to produce kg-scale polymer samples for the evaluation of composition and properties of the recycled polymer that are relevant for re-use in electronic goods. The recovered ABS will be demonstrated in an electronic product like a refrigerator or a vacuum cleaner. An in-depth economic and environmental assessment will be performed to prove the economic viability and environmental sustainability of the solution compared to current treatments.

Application of the technologies

The developed technology can easily be translated to similar waste streams from other sectors, such as the automotive industry, building and infrastructure, and packaging. The combination of pre-process sorting and use of superheated solvents offers an economic and environmental advantage.

Consortium

The consortium of PLAST2bCLEANED consists of partners representing the whole value chain:

TNO is project coordinator of PLAST2bCLEANED and is responsible for the Impact Assessment and the development of the selective dissolution process.

More information can be found on the PLAST2bCLEANED website. This Project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 821087

Contact

Dr. Esther Zondervan-van den Beuken

  • Circulaire Plastics
  • Impact Assessment
  • Design for circularity
  • Recycling

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