Around 20 organisations, led by the Fraunhofer Institute, have collaborated to significantly reduce the consumption of virgin plastics and give recycled plastics a chance.
Individual efforts are underway to improve the collection and recycling of plastics in (e-waste). Yet the plastics value chain is still too fragmented and plastics are perceived as not being attractive to the end-user. The European Commission estimates that e-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams; it is expected to increase to more than 12 million tonnes by 2020.
The global economy needs an immediate shift to a circular economy model for plastic waste. It requires all actors in the value chain to be involved in a systematic transformation that encompasses the entire life cycle of plastic materials.
TECNALIA’s participation in the PolyCE project has been based on developing sustainable materials and additives to be used in manufacturing plastic composites, which will form part of the demonstrator products for the electrical and electronics sector.
Specific objectives TECNALIA has focused on
• Developing sustainable flame retardant additives and systems, taking into account a circular perspective for polymeric matrices commonly used in the electrical and electronics sector (PC, PC/ABS, ABS). In order to comply with RoHS regulations, neither flame retardant systems nor additives may contain hazardous substances (e.g. halogen and/or antimony derivatives).
• These flame retardant systems and additives (UV protection and stabilisers, antioxidants… “acid scavenger”) need to retain their properties after several ageing and reprocessing cycles.
• Developing new compounds based on the above additives and flame retardant systems and using polymers recovered from WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) streams. These compounds will be designed to meet end-use application requirements in new electrical and electronic products.
• Development of a composite based on transparent PIR-PC (polycarbonate of post-industrial origin), with impact properties similar to virgin polycarbonate and V0 classification as per UL94 (flammability).
• Development of a PC/ABS composite with a V0 classification (as per UL94), which retains this classification throughout the ageing (QUV) and reprocessing (injection) cycles.
• Development of an r-PC/ABS formulation (based on recycled PC/ABS) with V0 classification and with all other properties similar to those of virgin PC/ABS.
• Development of UV protective additives, stabilisers and antioxidants (acid scavengers) based on hydrotalcites.