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PLASTtics to be CLEANED by sorting and separation of plastics and subsequent recycling of polymers, bromine flame retardants and antimony trioxide

Project description

A WEEE method for plastics recycling

Millions of tonnes of mixed plastics generated by waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) treatment in Europe is exported every year to Asia to be recycled to secondary plastics comprising harmful substances or landfilled. The reason is that the hazardous additives contained in WEEE plastics block their recycling in Europe. As a result, new effective solutions for WEEE plastics recycling are indispensable. The EU-funded PLAST2bCLEANED project intends to develop a method for WEEE plastics recycling that is practical and economically feasible and also reduces environmental impact. The method focuses on recycling of the most common polymers, bromine flame retardants and antimony trioxide using innovative technologies that permit the separation of hazardous additives from plastics.


1.2 Million tons of mixed plastics arise from Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) treatment in Europe and this quantity is still growing. WEEE plastics often contain undesired additives that hamper recycling in Europe. 75% of WEEE is currently exported to Asia where it is recycled to secondary plastics containing undesired (hazardous) substances or ending up in landfill where leaching occurs. Hence for WEEE plastics a closed loop solution is needed.
PLAST2bCLEANED’s aim is to develop a recycling process for WEEE plastics in a technically feasible, environmentally sound and economically viable manner. To fulfil this aim, PLAST2bCLEANED addresses the recycling of the most common WEEE plastics acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS) that contain up to 20wt% brominated flame retardants (BFR) and up to 5wt% of the synergist antimony trioxide (ATO). PLAST2bCLEANED will close three loops: (1) polymer, (2) bromine, and (3) ATO.
Key technologies developed within the project are: (1) improved sorting of HIPS and ABS that contain BFR from other polystyrene and ABS fractions; (2) dissolution of WEEE plastics in superheated solvents; (3) separation of additives to concentrate BFR and ATO fractions for recycling; (4) energy efficient recovery of solvent and of polymer. The developed technology will be integrated in a pilot facility with capacity of 2 kg/hr (TRL 5/6) delivering polymer samples. The developed technology can be applied to similar waste streams from other sectors, e.g. automotive.
The combination of improved sorting and use of superheated solvents offers an economic and environmental advantage. First calculations indicate a sound business case. The consortium is well equipped to develop this technology and consist of partners to cover the whole value chain.

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Net EU contribution
€ 1 253 185,01
Anna van buerenplein 1
2595 DA Den haag

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West-Nederland Zuid-Holland Agglomeratie ’s-Gravenhage
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (10)