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CloseWEEE Presents The Latest Developments in Sorting and Separation Technologies for WEEE Plastics

The CloseWEEE project celebrated its progress with a workshop, carried out on April 25th with the participation of industry and research leaders Fraunhofer IZM, Coolrec, Gaiker, TOMRA, Fraunhofer IVV, and Philips at Gaiker’s facilities in Zamudio, Spain.

The workshop began with Gergana Dimitrova (IZM) presenting an overview of the CloseWEEE project and the introduction of the innovative Recycling Information Centre (RIC). She evidenced its future impact on the recycling industry by providing standardised and valuable information to facilitate the dismantling of complex WEEE. Alex Branderhorst (Coolrec) followed Gergana, presenting three methods in the treatment and recovery of plastic fractions, as well as addressing several challenges in terms of achieving the current market and regulation demands within the circular economy. Oscar Salas (Gaiker) then introduced the progress on LIBS (Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) as well as its benefits for the identification of Bromine (a hazardous substance) in plastic fractions and the classification of free and non-free bromine fractions.

Judit Jansana (TOMRA) opened the second half of the workshop by presenting different solutions for classifying WEEE in order to adhere to current legislation, before showcasing innovative products with high added value. Martin Schlummer (IVV) offered an insightful overview of the quality of the plastic fractions recovered, as well as addressing challenging technical and economic barriers in the current market place. The innovative CreaSolv® process was also explained, as well as its benefits for the recovery of target polymers. Finally, Sepas Setayesh (Philips) opened a discussion on the current industrial needs, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of recycled materials being fed back into new EEE applications. To conclude, the workshop found that, considering the current regulatory framework, material recycling must meet reasonable levels of cost and quality in order to be competitive in the market.

After the workshop a two-day general assembly was held to address the progress of the project, and included an informative tour of Gaiker and Tecnalia facilities, giving the project partners the opportunity to observe several of the innovative technologies used in the CloseWEEE project.