To recycle through an integral approach 40 % of the polymeric material from mass consumer goods which is now practically not recycled, of which 25 % applicable in the same line of processing.
A more holistic approach was taken by industry in the development of 'complete end of life' solutions for specific products. The IBM keyboard and SONY televisions were candidate products progress with the keyboard product was analysed in depth. Dismantling such items by robot was shown to be a feasible option for those products that are standardized in construction and/or format or exist in a limited number of forms. Positive results should stimulate design for recycling/dismantling and the data base being put together should prove a valuable resource not only for the specific companies who have products under test but more widely as it includes information on generic tasks (eg unscrewing items) necessary for dismantling any product item.
Progress is being made in the use of near infrared (NIR) and laser breakdown spectroscopy (LBDS) as identification techniques, not just for polymers but for additive and nonpolymer items and, coupled with appropriate interpretational and decision making software, the outlook appears promising. Finally, application of supercritical fluid technology as a method of destruction/mineralization of problematic halogenated materials present in the candidate products was studied. Although considered as an interesting approach for the future, some doubts were raised on the need and practicality of this aspect given the nature of the specific products under investigation (degree of hazard, available alternatives) and the early stage of development of this technique (likelihood of commercialization in short and medium term).
Processes are available for glass, metals and printed circuit boards, but not for the polymeric materials. The following tasks will be carried out :
1. In pilot-plants, disassembly processes will be studied and translated into a "general concept" for the set-up of disassembly lines
2. Fast operating, non-contacting analytical systems will be developed to allow identification of the different polymeric materials (parts) and to detect the presence of heavy metals and halogenated hydro-carbons
3. Development of separation and cleaning techniques, especially focussed on removal of small parts, coatings and other contaminants
4. Establishment of the properties of the (reprocessed) materials, upgrading and determination of the applicability , also on an economic basis
5. Super-critical fluid degradation systems will be developed for materials that cannot be reused due to the level of degradation, the presence of certain additives or the actual market demand. This will be combined with pyrolysis of these materials.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
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