Separation and treatment to remove additives from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) can be more commercially and environmentally beneficial than landfill, incineration with energy recovery, export for recycling outside the UK or feedstock recycling options.

These are the results of new research investigating the waste management options for mixed WEEE polymers, released by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme). During the research, two new brominated flame retardant (BFR) extraction methods were trialled with the conclusion that BFR polymer treatment processes could potentially be commercially available within the next four years.

The European WEEE Directive encourages closed loop recycling by electronics manufacturers. WRAP has identified that one of the barriers to closed loop recycling of polymers from WEEE is the need to remove unwanted additives before they can be re-used. One of the most common additives are BFRs, some of which are known to give off harmful dioxins during reprocessing.

The three phase project, commissioned by WRAP and carried out by Axion Recycling Ltd, undertook a number of practical trials and process design work and looked at techniques to separate and remove BFRs from mixed WEEE polymers. The project trialled two different extraction methods: Creasolv1 and Centrevap2. Separation and sorting techniques for WEEE polymers and BFR treatment processes were also researched and tested.

The trial results revealed that while Creasolv is more successful at removing BFR from WEEE polymers, both provide financially viable alternatives to landfill and incineration. Centrevap does not remove the same level of BFR content as Creasolv, but was successful at removing other insoluble impurities from a wide range of polymer types.

The new methods provide a substantially better financial and environmental option for producing new high grade polymer. Both processes consume less than 20% of the primary energy used in the virgin polymer production process.

Although further development is required, it is believed that BFR polymer treatment processes could be deployed commercially throughout the UK in as little as two to four years. WRAP and Fraunhofer IVV have entered into a technology sharing agreement which will make the Creasolv process technology available for license in the UK via WRAP.

Creasolv was initially created by the Fraunhofer Group but has been further developed by WRAP throughout this project. As a result, WRAP now has the right to license Creasolv plants in the UK.

Centrevap has been solely developed by WRAP and tested at a technical scale.

Ano da Publicação:
WARMER BULLETIN ENEWS #18-2007-May 04, 2007
Kit Strange/Warmer Bulletin
Email do Autor: