The H2020 CloseWEEE project has now finished. The €5.9 million collaborative project was conceived with the aim of drastically improving e-waste recycling by enabling knowledge exchange and through the development of recycling technologies. Now the project has reached its conclusion, we’re happy to share with you some of our main findings.
If you would like to learn more about the groundbreaking work carried out over the course of the project then click the links below to view all our newsletters.
If you want to find out from international experts the importance of the recovery of technical plastics, such as PC/ABS, and ABS from electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) you cannot miss this workshop!
You will obtain information on how to reuse up to 80% of this waste in new high added value applications, as well as how to recover up to 80% of substances, such as Sb2O3 and BFR (brominated flame retardants), which are currently not separated from electrical and electronic waste.
It is a unique opportunity to discuss this problem, as well as the legislation that applies to this sector with representatives of the entire electrical and electronic waste value chain.
The CloseWEEE Recycling and Reuse of Polymers from WEEE workshop took place on June 6th 2018 attracting 33 participants from science and industry. During the workshop, Dr Martin Schlummer (Fraunhofer IVV) gave an overview of the CloseWEEE project, as well as making a presentation on ‘Recovery of Polymer Additives from WEEE plastics’. Dr Arne Rudiger (SITRAPLAS GmbH) explained the processes and associated challenges with ABS and PC/ABS recycling, and Dr Roland Schluter (ARGUS Additive Plastics GmbH) gave a presentation on the Application of Recycled Sb2O3 in Flame Retarded PE. The workshop also welcomed Jan Noordegraaf (Sinbra Technology) and Lein Tange (ICL-IP) who introduced the PolyStyreneLoop Cooperative.
Presentations from CloseWEEE project partners have been made available on the project website via the link below.
A high gloss ABS compound has been produced from a mixture containing recycled materials from waste small domestic appliances. The compound is of high quality and suitable for applications in new Electronic and Electrical Equipment. Upcycling was achieved via compounding where, virgin materials and additives, e.g. impact modifiers, stabilizers, and processing agents, were incorporated to produce the high quality compound.
The requirements for ABS were defined by Philips, who require a high gloss ABS grade for their Personal Health products. Taking into account the requirements defined by Philips, a compound of deep black, high gloss ABS including up to 30 % of recycled material was fully developed and tested. Recycled ABS for the compound was derived from waste ICT equipment and Small Domestic Appliances (SDA) at recycler Coolrec, with the first compounding trials at Sitraplas indicating that the flakes resulted in ABS compounds with high impact and excellent surface gloss and were comparable to virgin reference products. Work continues to optimize the compound, increasing recovered material use to up to 70%, while Philip’s high-quality requirements are still fulfilled.
In addition to the industrial ABS provided by Coolrec, ABS recovered using IVV’s CreaSolv® Process from both the heavy fraction of shredded SDA/ICT and ABS from TV and computer monitors is undergoing testing and optimization; whilst ABS recovered using a mechanical separation process based on LIBS technology developed by Gaiker is also being developed. Full technical data is expected to be released in the final months of the project.
Finally, a PC/ABS flame retardant grade has been developed at Tecnalia (www.tecnalia.com). The final compound is derived from a blend of recycled ABS from shredded ICT/SDA and recovered PC from waste packaging streams. The final composite fulfils fire performance and mechanical requirements for use in TV backcovers. Flame retardant system, halogen-free phosphorous based, and adequate additives have been required to upgrade the recovered polymers to the requested final performance.
The project partners toured the facilities of battery recycler, Accurec, who have designed and tested an innovative microwave treatment technology for Li-ion battery waste as part of the CloseWEEE project. The process enables recovery of critical raw materials – metals and graphite – which with appropriate treatment, can be re-used in battery manufacture or in other applications.
Accurec has long been involved in the recycling of batteries – Founded in 1995 the company now processes 4.5 million kilograms per year of NiCd, NiMH and Li-ion batteries. In the process developed in the CloseWEEE project, batteries undergo a pretreatment of discharging and mechanical processing. The Li-ion battery material is then fed into a microwave furnace where the material is heated up rapidly and the organics (electrolytes and separators, etc.) are pyrolyzed/evaporated. It produces electrolyte-free material for subsequent hydrometallurgical treatment for recovery of metals (Co, Ni, Mn, Li) and graphite. For more information, get in touch at email@example.com.
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.
Last September 7th — 9th the Electronic Goes Green 2016 Conference was held in Berlin. Electronics Goes Green is the world’s leading conference on electronics & environment that offers an opportunity to show results and innovative green solutions. The event also showcases the future trends and solutions towards sustainable development in the electronics sector.
Waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) contains a series many of valuable materials and substances and some of them are currently not recycled properly. The Fraunhofer IVV aims to close the loop for PC/ABS from housing polymers coming from WEEE. Martin Schlummer presented the current state of the work at the Conference Electronic Goes Green 2016 in Berlin. The results show that the solvent-based CreaSolv® Process can be applied to selectively dissolve PC/ABS from mixed WEEE plastics fractions. After separation of non-target materials pure PC/ABS is recovered from the polymer solution whereas the solvent is recycled within the process.
Fraunhofer IVV and partners in the CloseWEEE consortium held presentations in the event.
Find the articles presented by Fraunhofer below:
Recovery of PC/ABS from WEEE Plastic Shred by CreaSolv® Process
As of 2010 Eurostat reported that 3.3M tonnes of WEEE is collected in the EU annually. Many components of WEEE effective recycling technologies have already been developed and put into practice (e.g. copper, gold, polypropylene, polystyrene) there are significant valuable components which are not exploited yet.
These include PC/ABS, plastics used as standard casing material for modern consumer electronics. PC/ABS is currently collected with halogen-rich WEEE plastics and not recovered yet. The recovery of PC/ABS as a secondary polymeric raw material is highly challenging as even small shares of foreign materials cause significant negative effects on mechanical material properties.
Currently, the European CloseWEEE project investigates innovative sorting and recycling techniques capable of recovering highly pure PC/ABS.
This paper presents results indicating that pre-treatment of mixed shred of WEEE by x-ray transition (XRT) and density sorting enables an effective pre-concentration of the target polymer PC/ABS. XRT provides a fraction of halogen-free polymers, whereas subsequent sorting by a sink and float approach enriches PC/ABS further to a purity of 80%. The chain of purifying processes is finalised by the solvent-based Creasolv® process.
Recovery of Bromine and Antimony from WEEE Plastics
Current technologies for recycling plastics from WEEE aim at the major polymer types, i.e. ABS, PS and PP, which are free of brominated flame retardants (BFR), are separated from the mixed plastics stream by means of density separation and/or spectroscopic sorters and leave a fraction containing significant amounts of flame retarded ABS, PS.
As high industrial consumption faces limited supply and accessibility, antimony has been identified as a critical element in the EU and therefore is an interesting target element in urban mining approaches. Separation of fraction of concentrated BFR free of metals enables bromine recovery from those fractions in pyrolytic processes producing bromine for new and safe bromine-based flame retardants (like PolyFR).
The technological approach of the project bases on a dissolution based recycling concept (CreaSolv) that allows to selectively extract ABS and PS from the halogen fraction. At the current project stage, the technical feasibility of this approach has been demonstrated in laboratory scale. It has been upscaled recently to small technical scale using a decanter centrifuge. Results show, that application of centrifugal forces separates Sb2O3 to more than 90 % from the dissolved polymers whereas BFR stay in solution.
The CloseWEEE 4th General Assembly along with the Review Meeting was held between September 27th – September 29th in the facilities of the VHS Simmering in Vienna, Austria.
The General Assembly counted on the participation of the Project Officer, Marco Recchioni and the Project Technical Advisor, Margaret Bates from the University of Northampton.
At the end of the meeting, a tour of the facilities of The Disassembly and Recycling Center (DRZ) in Vienna was carried out. The DRZ, partner in the CloseWEEE project, is a recycling, ReUse and upcycling company for electrical devices. For more information about DRZ, visit: http://www.drz-wien.at/
CloseWEEE is conducting a survey that will help identify barriers and limitations of reusing recycled polymers (halogenated and non-halogenated), as well as limitations and constraints in the use of recovered additives in new applications which will determine the viability of cost efficient solutions in the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) market.
The questionnaires are short (less than 20 questions- 10 minutes), and as a participant you will:
— Receive the full report of the Market Research
— Subscribe to our Newsletter with relevant information about the WEEE market
— Participate in a prize draw to win a €500 Amazon Coupon*
— Include your company’s name on the list of supporters of this H2020 European project**
We have targeted five (5) different collectives. Please click on the one that better suits the nature of your company/organisation.
WEEE Managers: the authorised organisations in charge of the treatment of the WEEE streams after collection. WEEE managers can receive the WEEE streams from authorised collection facilities or from E&E producers.
Click here to begin the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WEEEmanagers
Plastic Converters: Converters are considered in this survey as the end user (companies) of the recovered/recycled materials (from WEEEs if possible) for a second life in E&E applications.
Click here to begin the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Plasticconv
Standardisation and Certification bodies:
Standardisation bodies are public or private organisations that propose, develop, establish, monitor and/or coordinate the voluntary standards.
Certification bodies are those organisations which audit and certify that material and products comply with relevant standards.
Policy makers and Public Bodies are in charge of the formulation, implementation and transposition of the legislation, regulation and directives and the effectiveness of these.
Click here to begin the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/standardcert
Original Design Manufacturers, Original Equipment Manufacturers (ODM/OEM): organisations which are in charge of the product manufacture. The difference between ODM and OEM is that ODM designs the product while OEM manufactures on behalf of the selling companies.
Click here to begin the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ODMOEM
Suppliers of Additives: group specialized in the market of additives for application in plastics for EEEs.
Click here to begin the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/addssuppliers
If you know a person who will be suitable to take the survey, don’t hesitate and forward it!
* All completed surveys will be entered into the prize drawn to win a €500 Amazon Coupon, click here to see terms and conditions.
** Please send an email to infoCLOSEWEEE@exergy.uk.com with your company’s logo and website. Subject: Supporter