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Contaminated  plastics from  waste electro(nic) equipment (WEEE) and end-of-live cars (ELV)

After the CreaSolv® Process demonstrated its suitability for the recycling of various plastics in earlier projects, in September 2010 the “Poly-Ressource” Project was started in line with the “SME-innovative” Program of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). This joint research project was aimed at the collection and processing of contaminated waste plastics from shredder residues from the processing of waste electro(nic) equipment (WEEE) and end-of-live cars (ELV) in Europe and the production of recyceled plastics conforming to the regulations.

For this undertaking a consortium was founded by five enterprises with a project budget of approximately € 1.000.000 in order to realize this ambitious goal and wherein all members brought in valuable key competencies:

  • Fraunhofer IVV & CreaCycle GmbH – CreaSolv® Prozeß
  • sat. Recyclingtechnik GmbH & Tulicon GmbH – AProcessing of waste plastics and separation of contaminated fractions
  • LÖMI GmbH – Recycling of solvents and polymer upgrading

2010 Poly Resource Consortium

After the process was optimized in phase 1 and in phase 2 the equipment capacity was provided for the pilot plant, in phase 3 in summer 2012 the sample production was started with subsequent evaluation of the results.

In November 2012 LÖMI delivered a pilot plant RWA-250 for medium and large distillation rates to Fraunhofer IVV in a special design for the CreaSolv® process.

Technikumsanlage RWA-250 der Firma LömiIn the course of the project Electrolux as international producer (OEM) of domestic appliances was integrated and analyzed the quality of the recycled plastics and their potential use in new equipment.

In 2013 the project was successfully completed and delivered new findings:

  • The CreaSolv® process allows the separation of different plastics like ABS and (HI)PS from different mixed WEEE plastic waste streams.
  • The removal of contaminants and additives is possible.
  • The effective separation of brominated flame retardants (BFR) like polybrominated furans (PBDF) and Diphenylether (PBDE) and their degradation products allows to comply with the RoHS Directive. A bromine recovery from the remains is possible.
  • The recycled plastics show good physical properties.
  • By step-wise extraction, the change from batch to continuous for certain sub-processes and the reduction in size for the necessary agregates, the process could be further optimized and the needed CreaSolv® volumes could be reduced.

The results were presented at "Electronic Goes Green 2012" in Berlin under the title "Recycling of High Performance Polymers from Electro(nic) Scrap" and discussed in a scientific article1).

But as long it is possible to export electronic waste as "second-hand" articles to development countries, or this waste suddenly shows up by surprize in Ghana or China (to name only two) or it is allowed to incinerate shredded plastics (with its share consistently increasing in every device), one will have to wait for quite a while until material recycling will be practiced widely in this industry segment.

More information:

  1. Recycling Magazin 20 /201, Oct 2010; Seiten 18-19; Siebenfache Effizienz - no longer available
  2. Fraunhofer IVV 2011: Poly-Ressource – High-quality injection plastic moldings from shredder residues – Link
  3. German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) - "KMU innovative" Project Flyers, Status April 2012: Shredder-Residues as Source for High-Quality Plastics (Poly-Ressource) - no longer available
  4. 1) M. Schlummer, A. Mäurer, G. Altnau; "Recycling of High Performance Polymers from Electro(nic) Scrap" published in Electronic Goes Green Sept. 2012, p. 1-5, E-ISBN 978-3-8396-0439-7.