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Life cycle assessment of post-consumer plastics production from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) treatment residues in a Central European plastics recycling plant

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Abstract

Plastics play an increasingly important role in reaching the recovery and recycling rates defined in the European WEEE Directive. In a recent study we have determined the life cycle environmental impacts of post-consumer plastics production from mixed, plastics-rich WEEE treatment residues in the Central European plant of a market-leading plastics recycler, both from the perspective of the customers delivering the residues and the customers buying the obtained post-consumer recycled plastics. The results of our life cycle assessments, which were extensively tested with sensitivity analyses, show that from both perspectives plastics recycling is clearly superior to the alternatives considered in this study (i.e. municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) and virgin plastics production). For the three ReCiPe endpoint damage categories, incineration in an MSWI plant results in an impact exceeding that of the examined plastics recycling facility each by about a factor of 4, and the production of virgin plastics has an impact exceeding that of the post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics production each by a factor of 6-10. On a midpoint indicator level the picture is more differentiated, showing that the environmental impacts of the recycling options are lower by 50% and more for almost all impact factors. While this provides the necessary evidence for the environmental benefits of plastics recycling compared to existing alternatives, it can, however, not be taken as conclusive evidence. To be conclusive, future research will have to address the fate of hazardous substances in the outputs of such recycling systems in more detail. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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... However, recycling or other treatments as well as disposal must be carried out with due care since some WEEE may contain hazardous additives that can cause health or environmental problems [9]. The impacts of recycling can be quantified using life cycle assessment (LCA), which considers the entire cycle of the product or process, taking into account the inputs and outputs, including energy, water and raw material consumption and emissions (gases, liquids and solids), from raw material acquisition to EEE manufacture and final WEEE destination [10,11]. ...
... Stenvall et al. [24] studied the composition of plastics from EEE in two Swedish recyclers and found that the main polymers in WEEE were HIPS, with 42%w, ABS, with 38%w and PP, with 10%w. Other studies [10,34,35] have confirmed that the copolymer ABS and HIPS are the polymer materials most commonly found in WEEE. ...
... The authors did not specify whether they intended to use the recycled material for the same production cycle or not, which would depend on the technical properties of the recycled material. Wäger and Hischier [10] investigated the potential environmental impacts of life cycle associated with the post-consumption recycling of WEEE plastics in a factory that treated materials in Europe. The factory processes included separating the polymers from other materials. ...
Article
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Acrylonitrile–butadiene–styrene (ABS) copolymer and high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) are the plastics most commonly found in waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), although properties generally decline with recycling. Technical studies are important in assessing the properties of recycled plastics and obtaining better evidence of their return or not to the same production cycle, through a study of their impacts and life cycle assessment (LCA). This article aimed at a literature search for information that demonstrates the importance of considering the technical property results of LCA studies on WEEE plastics. LCA studies show that recycling WEEE plastics, when compared with virgin raw material, prevents 87% of ABS gas emissions, in addition to reducing energy consumption by up to 90% for ABS and HIPS. However, some technical properties of recycled WEEE polymer material, such as impact strength and ultimate elongation, decline when compared to virgin materials, which may hinder their reinsertion into the same production cycle. These properties can be enhanced by preparing compatible mixtures of ABS and HIPS, or by mixing them with virgin polymers. Recycled ABS (not mixed with another material) can return to the same production cycle when the goal is to preserve the modulus of elasticity. Studies that investigate properties using LCA are scarce. However, they are important in determining the viability of the material returning or not to the same production cycle, which would impact the process and produce different LCA results. Recycled ABS and HIPS polymers from WEEE can return to the same function even if some properties decline, since properties can be improved when the polymers are properly mixed or made compatible, thereby lowering costs and primarily minimizing the negative environmental impacts.
... The overall goal of the study is to investigate the influence of different product clustering strategies on the environmental burden associated with both the waste treatment of plastic in WEEE and the production of recycled plastic. Although waste treatment and recycling activities are closely related, the considered perspective influences the considered system boundary and related functional unit (Wäger and Hischier, 2015). Therefore, both approaches are covered in this paper. ...
... A calorific value of 31 MJ/kg is assumed as an average for mixed plastic waste streams, which is known to vary between 27.9 and 38.4 MJ/kg (Tsjamis and Castaldi, 2016). This embedded energy is valorised to produce power and heat at a gross efficiency, for which default values from ecoinvent have been used: 26% and 13% for heat generation and electricity generation respectively, hence yielding 4.0 MJ of electricity and 8.1 MJ of heat per kg of incinerated plastic (Wäger and Hischier, 2015). ...
... In this section, the results obtained are compared to the existing body of knowledge which contains similar previous research studies. Wäger and Hishier (2015) investigated the life cycle environmental impacts of post-consumer plastics production from mixed, plastics-rich WEEE treatment residues in the Central European plant of a plastics recycler, both from the perspective of the customers delivering the residues and the customers buying the obtained post-consumer recycled plastics (Wäger and Hischier, 2015). The main differences with the current study are (1) different alternative waste treatment strategies are considered in the presented research; (2) no credits are taken for the metal impurities in the recovered plastic stream from WEEE; (3) transport is excluded from our system boundaries; and (4) some processes are considered shared processes to all material use cycles, such as virgin production and final waste treatment. ...
Article
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The complex composition of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) plastics represents a challenge during post-consumption plastic recycling. A single WEEE category, e.g. large household appliances (LHA), can contain several different plastic types with overlapping material properties, making the sorting of individual plastics a challenge. Significant increases in plastic recovery rates can be expected by clustering product categories, as clustering can avoid mixing of non-compatible plastics with overlapping material properties. For this purpose, a life cycle assessment (LCA) is conducted to investigate the influence of different clustering strategies on the environmental performance of waste treatment and the production of recycled plastic from LHA waste stream. To assure comparability between waste treatment scenarios a system expansion approach is applied, and to allocate the burden of shared processes over the first and second use cycle of the material partitioning is applied. Results show that an increased separation of product clusters by plastic type can improve the plastic recovery rate from 5.8% to 47.1% and reduce the overall environmental impact, quantified with the ReCiPe (2016) method, by up to 23%. The environmental impacts of using recycled plastics from LHA waste can be reduced by 27 to 38% compared to single-use plastic. The holistic approach used in this study demonstrates (1) the potential benefits of implementing product clustering strategies for LHA plastic recycling, (2) the relevance of different allocation procedures when integrating recycling into an LCA, (3) the importance of using less virgin material and avoiding final waste treatment, and (4) the limitation of the recycling system to reduce the environmental burden associated with products.
... The other LCA studies considered in this review focus on specific applications or scenarios related to plastic waste management and have widely differing goals and scopes. Wager et al. [35] conducted a study on how waste electrical and electronics equipment (WEEE) is processed in Europe. The plastic-rich mixed residues from the mechanical treatment of WEEE are recycled and the post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics are reintroduced in the market as a replacement for primary plastics. ...
... Many of the specialist studies also used a FU of 1 tonne, relating to the specific waste type being studied [17,31,35]. Ferreira et al. [33] defined a FU of 32,645 tonnes which equates to the quantity managed by the Portugal composting facility in 2010. ...
... Wäger et al. [35] take a two-stage approach; in the first case, the system boundary starts with materials obtained from a WEEE processing facility and includes analysis of incineration and recycling processes. In the second stage, the system boundaries are modified to aid comparison against virgin plastics, starting from WEEE treatment through to production of the recycled products, energy, and landfill of residuals. ...
Article
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Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool that can help to quantify the impacts of different processes to facilitate comparison and decision making. There are many potential methods for managing plastic waste, but it can be difficult to determine which methods are preferable in terms of environmental impact. Suitable existing LCA studies are identified through a screening process and the methodologies used and their outputs are compared. When undertaking an LCA, the researchers must define their scope and select their parameters, according to their aims and context, which leads to a wide variation in the approach taken. In this study, six parameters have been considered to analyze research progress in these fields regarding LCA, i.e., goals and scope, functional units, impact assessment categories, system boundaries, geographical context, and uncertainty analysis. These studies include the similar type of different studies considering plastic waste recycling, each taking a different approach to defining the system boundaries, revealing how the decision to include or exclude factors such as transport can have a significant impact on the outcomes. Additionally, compared to these similar studies on mixed-plastic waste management, different available options are used to quantitatively compare the impact outcomes, revealing how the context and parameter selection can affect the results. This review aims to highlight the prospect of LCA during the development of a waste management framework as an efficient waste recycling tool and recommend a research gap for the development of an improved management framework in the future.
... Essential elements are different from toxic elements in that the body relies upon small concentrations for normal metabolic functioning. Serum concentrations of Cu in the Thailand exposure groups were similar to those found in other studies of non-exposed populations (1516 µg/L) [93]. Reference levels for serum Zn were not available. ...
... Plastic recycling showed a benefit for all damage categories except ecosystem quality, which had a net damage impact of 0.07 PDF*m 2 *yr per kg recovered (See Appendix F). A study examining the benefits of plastics recycling in the formal sector compared to virgin plastics similarly found a 25% increase in terrestrial ecotoxicity in the later processes compared to the former [93]. However, compared to alternative scenarios of production of virgin plastics in European countries, the literature estimates that recycling of e-waste plastics results in fewer damages than production of virgin materials [79], [93]. ...
... A study examining the benefits of plastics recycling in the formal sector compared to virgin plastics similarly found a 25% increase in terrestrial ecotoxicity in the later processes compared to the former [93]. However, compared to alternative scenarios of production of virgin plastics in European countries, the literature estimates that recycling of e-waste plastics results in fewer damages than production of virgin materials [79], [93]. The ReCiPe results showed an overall net benefit for plastics recycling (Appendix G). ...
Thesis
Electronic waste, “E-waste”, is the fastest growing waste stream globally. Informal e-waste recycling lacks the policy and regulatory controls found in formal industry, creating health hazards for workers and communities, while potentially achieving higher recovery rates of raw materials and related reductions in impacts. This dissertation evaluated routes of exposure to metals, physical hazards faced by workers, material and economic flows, and environmental and human health damages, through the lens of Total Worker Health (TWH). The research described took place in informal e-waste recycling communities in Thailand and Chile, countries with different cultural contexts and recycling paradigms. Following the introduction in Chapter 1, Chapter 2 examined metal levels in a variety of environmental samples, surface dust, air, and human biomarkers. Concentrations of metals in environmental samples were elevated. Surface wipe samples from Thailand showed no significant difference in metal concentrations between surfaces used for food and work, while there was a difference in Chile. Despite having higher overall concentrations of metals in wipe samples, workers in Chile had lower concentrations of metal biomarkers than workers and non-workers in Thailand. Results from an application of the Method of Triads showed that surface wipes generally had the highest validity coefficients of the various measures evaluated. Chapter 3 evaluated the physical hazards of e-waste recycling. No workers were exposed above the recommended occupational limit for noise of 85 dBA. However, a portion of workers had audiograms indicative of noise-induced hearing loss. Sixty percent of workers in each country experienced at least 1 work injury in the previous 6 months. Analysis of injury risk factors using survey data and a novel semi-quantitative video analysis indicated high frequencies of ergonomic stressors and working near sharp objects in both countries. Logistic regressions in Thailand showed that odds of injury were greater among workers who reported more frequent noise and regular use of personal protective equipment. In Chile, buying/selling of e-waste was associated with lower odds of injury. Poisson regressions showed that older and more educated workers in Thailand had a lower injury incidence rate ratio (IRR). In Chile, older, more educated workers, report of a dangerous task, increased frequency in the use of cotton gloves, repetitive arm motion, and lifting of < 20 pounds had a higher IRR. Chapter 4 combined material flow analysis (MFA) and life cycle assessment (LCA) methods to analyze the quantitative flow of materials, economic benefits, and human and environmental impacts of informal e-waste recycling. Four e-waste products were selected for the MFA in a Thai community and then fed into a LCA to estimate net avoided emissions. One village processed ~40,000 kg of e-waste monthly, worth a net value added of 157,000 THB (~$5,000). Recycling in one village avoided 0.2 Disability-Adjusted Life Years, 60,000 kg of CO2 equivalents, and nearly 400,000 megajoules each month. Dismantling of e-waste by informal e-waste workers with downstream processes (e.g., recovery of dangerous, precious, and trace materials) completed by more formalized operations may be advantageous for both sectors. Finally, Chapter 5 provides overall conclusions and discussion. This dissertation yielded important information on how to protect informal e-waste worker and community health. Exposures to metals occurred during both work and non-work activities, and the participating workers experienced a high rate of injury, affecting health and economic well-being. Short-term economic benefits may be out-weighed by long-term ecosystem damages.
... The next step is to segregate the sorted plastics into different polymers. Further, life cycle assessment study by Wager et al. explains that recycling of post consumer plastics is an advantage from the perspective of both the consumer providing the plastics for recycling (Downstream) and the consumer buying the recycled plastic components (Upstreaming) [19]. The majority of plastics present in E-waste is of high value engineering plastic, which have a plenty of opportunity for various high end application such as automobiles, construction etc. [20]. ...
... The current generation of recyclers are using automated systems to sort, but they can be extremely helpful in macro sorting only. The application of spectroscopy techniques during automated micro sorting makes the process expensive [19]. As a result, this step is mostly conducted with the help of man power either by RIC codes or using a hand held XRF's. ...
Article
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The major roadblock for recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipments (WEEE) depends on the viability of sorting process, which is a complex task, involving various techniques such as sink float, froth flotation, optical separation and manual separation, etc. This makes the sorting process highly time consuming and expensive. The primary aim of this investigation is to study the properties of polymeric blends formulated from computer keyboards, by avoiding high end sorting procedure to avoid manpower and instrumental cost. The major polymers recovered from waste keyboards were identified as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), high impact polystyrene (HIPS) and polystyrene (PS), using fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. These polymers were subjected to mechanical recycling by employing melt blending technique, followed by injection moulding. A ternary blend was prepared utilizing various percentages of ABS, HIPS and PS. The mechanical test of the blends revealed an optimum tensile strength of 35 ± 3 MPa, flexural strength of 65 ± 3 MPa, and impact strength of 45 ± 3 J/m. The homogeneity of the blends was determined through thermal analysis and morphological analysis of impact fractured specimens. The thermogravimetry analysis (TGA) showed a narrow peak with degradation of 98% of the blends at 700 °C. It was observed that, the properties of blends were similar to each other, which allows to eliminate multiple sorting process reducing cost aspect with improve performance characteristics.
... It considers energy and material consumptions, emissions in the environment, and disposal of wastes, and it follows each activity from the extraction of raw materials to the return of wastes to the ground. LCA has been successfully applied to the mechanical recycling of waste plastics by focusing on comparison of different disposal alternatives [6][7][8][9]. It was found that the mechanical recycling of waste plastics is more preferable to incineration and landfills, provided a certain recycled material substitution ratio is achieved [6]. ...
... It was found that the mechanical recycling of waste plastics is more preferable to incineration and landfills, provided a certain recycled material substitution ratio is achieved [6]. Furthermore, it was found that mechanical recycling is an environmentalfriendly approach for waste plastic disposal [6][7][8][9]. Recycling has been shown to save more energy than that produced by energy recovery even when including the energy used to collect, transport, and reprocess the plastic [10]. Life-cycle analyses for plastic-recycling systems concluded that greater positive environmental benefits can be achieved from mechanical recycling compared to landfill and incineration with energy recovery [11][12][13][14]. ...
Article
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This study aims to quantify the overall environmental performances of mechanical recycling of the postconsumer high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in Jordan. The life-cycle assessment (LCA) methodology is used to assess the potential environmental impacts of recycling postconsumer PET and HDPE. It quantifies the total energy requirements, energy sources, atmospheric pollutants, waterborne pollutants, and solid waste resulting from the production of recycled PET and HDPE resin from the postconsumer plastic. System expansion and cut-off recycling allocation methods are applied. The analysis has been carried out according to the LCA standard, series UNI EN ISO 14040-14044:2006. A standard unit of output (functional unit) is defined as “one ton of PET flake” and “one ton of HDPE pellet.” The results of the production of virgin resin are compared with the “cut-off” and “system expansion” recycling results. Depending on the allocation methods applied, a nonrenewable energy saving of 40–85% and greenhouse gas emission saving of 25–75% can be achieved. Based on two allocation methods, PET and HDPE recycling offers important environmental benefits over single-use virgin PET and HDPE. LCA offers a powerful tool for assisting companies and policy-makers in the waste plastic industry. Furthermore, the “system expansion” recycling method is not easy to apply because it requires detailed data outside of the life cycle of the investigated product.
... Multiple LCA and techno-economic analyses of olefin production from oil, coal, methane, and ethane (e.g., Ren et al., 2006Ren et al., , 2008Ren, 2009;Xiang et al., 2014a,b;2015;Amghizar et al., 2017;Zhao et al., 2017) and plant-specific approaches (e.g., Patel, 2003;Pereira et al., 2013;Kanchanapiya et al., 2015) were conducted. LCA was also applied to mechanical recycling, incineration with energy recovery, and landfilling of plastic waste to compare disposal alternatives (e.g., by Lazarevic et al., 2010;Wäger et al., 2011;Al-Maadeed et al., 2012;Turner et al., 2015;Wäger & Hischier, 2015;Gu et al., 2017;Van Eygen et al., 2018b). Separately collected waste fractions (Perugini et al., 2005;Achilias et al., 2007;Turner et al., 2015;Van Eygen et al., 2018a), post-industrial plastic waste (Huysman et al., 2017), and postconsumer electronic waste (Achilias et al., 2009;Wäger et al., 2011;Wäger & Hischier, 2015) were assessed. ...
... LCA was also applied to mechanical recycling, incineration with energy recovery, and landfilling of plastic waste to compare disposal alternatives (e.g., by Lazarevic et al., 2010;Wäger et al., 2011;Al-Maadeed et al., 2012;Turner et al., 2015;Wäger & Hischier, 2015;Gu et al., 2017;Van Eygen et al., 2018b). Separately collected waste fractions (Perugini et al., 2005;Achilias et al., 2007;Turner et al., 2015;Van Eygen et al., 2018a), post-industrial plastic waste (Huysman et al., 2017), and postconsumer electronic waste (Achilias et al., 2009;Wäger et al., 2011;Wäger & Hischier, 2015) were assessed. Mechanical plastics recycling and re-granulate performance was extensively researched (Chen et al., 2011;Turner et al., 2015;Gu et al., 2016a,b;Van Eygen et al., 2018a,b). ...
Article
Full-text available
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to be reduced to limit global warming. Plastic production requires carbon raw materials and energy that are associated today with predominantly fossil raw materials and fossil GHG emissions. Worldwide, the plastic demand is increasing annually by 4%. Recycling technologies can help save or reduce GHG emissions, but they require comparative assessment. Thus, we assess mechanical recycling, chemical recycling by means of pyrolysis and a consecutive, complementary combination of both concerning Global Warming Potential (GWP) [CO 2 e], Cumulative Energy Demand (CED) [MJ/kg], carbon efficiency [%], and product costs [€] in a process-oriented approach and within defined system boundaries. The developed techno-economic and environmental assessment approach is demonstrated in a case study on recycling of separately collected mixed lightweight packaging (LWP) waste in Germany. In the recycling paths, the bulk materials polypropylene (PP), polyethy-lene (PE), polyvinylchloride (PVC), and polystyrene (PS) are assessed. The combined mechanical and chemical recycling (pyrolysis) of LWP waste shows considerable saving potentials in GWP (0.48 kg CO2e/kg input), CED (13.32 MJ/kg input), and cost (0.14 €/kg input) and a 16% higher carbon efficiency compared to the baseline scenario with state-of-the-art mechanical recycling in Germany. This leads to a combined recycling potential between 2.5 and 2.8 million metric tons/year that could keep between 0.8 and 2 million metric tons/year additionally in the (circular) economy instead of inciner-ating them. This would be sufficient to reach both EU and German recycling rate targets (EC 2018). This article met the requirements for a gold-silver JIE data openness badge described at http://jie.click/badges.
... Bientinesi and Petarca [56] compared the environmental impact of two thermal treatment systems designed for plastic from WEEE: the combustion in an MSW plant in Germany and the gasification in a gas turbine system in the Netherlands. Wäger and Hischier [57] investigated the environmental life cycle impacts associated with the production of post-consumer plastics from WEEE treatment residues in a plastic recycler plant located in Austria and stated that the recycling of e-plastic residues is superior to alternative disposal. Jonkers et al. [58] performed an LCA study to compare the environmental impacts of BFRs and halogen-free flame retardants (HFFRs) in an electronic product over the whole life cycle and demonstrated that improper treatment of WEEE has the highest impact compared with different waste treatment options. ...
... The analysis of the comparison between alternative end-of-life scenarios shows that the recycling and re-use of e-plastics inside construction materials are environmentally superior to alternative strategies, such as incineration and disposal, and these superior strategies have an environmental impact that accounts for less than 50% of the impact in the mid-and end-point categories considered in this study. These results are consistent with previous studies on WEEEP treatment residue management in European countries, such as Austria [57]. Sensitivity analyses show that variations in the assumed parameters do not change the overall conclusion. ...
Article
Full-text available
Plastic materials account for about 20% of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). The recycling of this plastic fraction is a complex issue, heavily conditioned by the content of harmful additives, such as brominated flame retardants. Thus, the management and reprocessing of WEEE plastics pose environmental and human health concerns, mainly in developing countries, where informal recycling and disposal are practiced. The objective of this study was twofold. Firstly, it aimed to investigate some of the available options described in the literature for the re-use of WEEE plastic scraps in construction materials, a promising recycling route in the developing countries. Moreover, it presents an evaluation of the impact of these available end-of-life scenarios on the environment by means of the life cycle assessment (LCA) approach. In order to consider worker health and human and ecological risks, the LCA analysis focuses on ecotoxicity more than on climate change. The LCA evaluation confirmed that the plastic re-use in the construction sector has a lower toxicity impact on the environment and human health than common landfilling and incineration practices. It also shows that the unregulated handling and dismantling activities, as well as the re-use practices, contribute significantly to the impact of WEEE plastic treatments.
... Multiple LCA and techno-economic analyses of olefin production from oil, coal, methane, and ethane (e.g., Ren et al., 2006Ren et al., , 2008Ren, 2009;Xiang et al., 2014a,b;2015;Amghizar et al., 2017;Zhao et al., 2017) and plant-specific approaches (e.g., Patel, 2003;Pereira et al., 2013;Kanchanapiya et al., 2015) were conducted. LCA was also applied to mechanical recycling, incineration with energy recovery, and landfilling of plastic waste to compare disposal alternatives (e.g., by Lazarevic et al., 2010;Wäger et al., 2011;Al-Maadeed et al., 2012;Turner et al., 2015;Wäger & Hischier, 2015;Gu et al., 2017;Van Eygen et al., 2018b). Separately collected waste fractions (Perugini et al., 2005;Achilias et al., 2007;Turner et al., 2015;Van Eygen et al., 2018a), post-industrial plastic waste (Huysman et al., 2017), and postconsumer electronic waste (Achilias et al., 2009;Wäger et al., 2011;Wäger & Hischier, 2015) were assessed. ...
... LCA was also applied to mechanical recycling, incineration with energy recovery, and landfilling of plastic waste to compare disposal alternatives (e.g., by Lazarevic et al., 2010;Wäger et al., 2011;Al-Maadeed et al., 2012;Turner et al., 2015;Wäger & Hischier, 2015;Gu et al., 2017;Van Eygen et al., 2018b). Separately collected waste fractions (Perugini et al., 2005;Achilias et al., 2007;Turner et al., 2015;Van Eygen et al., 2018a), post-industrial plastic waste (Huysman et al., 2017), and postconsumer electronic waste (Achilias et al., 2009;Wäger et al., 2011;Wäger & Hischier, 2015) were assessed. Mechanical plastics recycling and re-granulate performance was extensively researched (Chen et al., 2011;Turner et al., 2015;Gu et al., 2016a,b;Van Eygen et al., 2018a,b). ...
Preprint
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Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions need to be reduced to limit global warming. Plastic production requires carbon raw materials and energy that are associated today with predominantly fossil raw materials and fossil GHG emissions. Worldwide, the plastic demand is increasing annually by 4%. Recycling technologies can help saving or reducing GHG emissions, but they require comparative assessment. Thus, we assess mechanical recycling, chemical recycling and a consecutive, complementary combination of both concerning Global Warming Potential (GWP) [CO2e], Cumulative Energy Demand (CED) [MJ/kg], carbon efficiency [%] and product costs [€] in a process-oriented approach and within defined system boundaries. The developed approach is demonstrated in a case study on chemical recycling (pyrolysis) of separately collected mixed lightweight packaging (LWP) waste in Germany. In the recycling paths, the bulk materials polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), polyvinylchloride (PVC) and polystyrene (PS) are assessed. The results show significant differences between the considered recycling paths. The combined mechanical and chemical recycling (pyrolysis) of LWP waste shows considerable saving potentials in GWP (0.48 kg CO2e/kg input), CED (13.3 MJ/kg input), and cost (0.14 €/kg input) and a 16% higher carbon efficiency compared to the baseline scenario with state-of-the-art mechanical recycling in Germany. This leads to a combined recycling potential of plastic waste between 2.5 and 2.8 million tons/year that could keep between 0.8 and 2 million tons/year additionally in the (circular) economy instead of incinerating them. This would be sufficient to reach both EU and German recycling rate targets.
... In general, the results reinforce previously published estimates that most of the environmental impacts are concentrated at the recycling stage (Wäger and Hischier, 2015). The use of electricity, flexibilizer and freshwater are the main reasons. ...
... Due to CFC-12 emissions during the WEEE dismantling, GWP of secondary plastics does not reduce as significantly as the above impact categories, and ODP value is even higher than that of virgin ones. Overall, our findings are consistent with previous research, revealing a reduction of 84%− 90% in FFP, 40%− 70% in GWP (Cascone et al., 2020;Kreiger et al., 2014;Nguyen et al., 2016;Yin et al., 2016), and about 75% for FETP and METP (Wäger and Hischier, 2015). ...
Article
Sustainable management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) offers a significant opportunity for resource recovery. However, the generation of plastics in WEEEs and the environmental impacts related to subsequent recycling have not been well addressed. This study estimates the generation volumes of plastics that are recycled from five typical kinds of WEEEs in China and analyzes the environmental performance of WEEE plastics recycling using life cycle assessment (LCA). The results show that recycled plastics from WEEEs increased from 231.6 kt in 2010 to 565.8 kt in 2018, by an average rate of 11.8% per year, with acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), polypropylene (PP) and polystyrene (PS) being the three main components. In 2018, the estimated total electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions caused by Chinese WEEE plastics recycling reached 238.6 million kWh and 712.1 kt CO2 eq, primarily due to energy consumption, transportation and WEEE disassembling processes. Based on the results, we find that recycled plastics from WEEEs demonstrate better performance on most environmental aspects except for ozone depletion as compared to the production of virgin plastics. The ongoing ozone-depleting emissions imply an urgent need for additional actions to minimize potential refrigerant leakage in WEEE plastics recycling. This study provides essential information about the existing WEEE plastics recycling practices in China and offers valuable implications to enhance the recycling of plastic materials from WEEEs and achieve sustainable WEEE management.
... Plastic recycling showed a benefit for all damage categories except ecosystem quality, with net damage of 0.07 PDF × m 2 × yr per kg recovered. Wäger and Hischier (2015) similarly found a 25% increase in comparison to virgin plastics in terrestrial ecotoxicity when recycling plastics in the formal sector. However, compared to alternative scenarios of production of virgin plastics in European countries, recycling of e-waste plastics results in fewer damages (Wäger et al., 2011;Wäger and Hischier, 2015). ...
... Wäger and Hischier (2015) similarly found a 25% increase in comparison to virgin plastics in terrestrial ecotoxicity when recycling plastics in the formal sector. However, compared to alternative scenarios of production of virgin plastics in European countries, recycling of e-waste plastics results in fewer damages (Wäger et al., 2011;Wäger and Hischier, 2015). The ReCiPe results showed an overall net benefit for plastics recycling (Appendix D). ...
Article
The informal e-waste recycling sector has potential for both harmful environmental releases and environmental benefits associated with avoided emissions from recovered materials. Four household appliances (washing machine, refrigerator, Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) television, fan) were selected for a combined Material Flow Analysis and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) analysis of their end-of-life treatment. Data collection took place in an informal e-waste recycling community in Thailand, recording the weight of materials recovered for each appliance, along with the number of each appliance recycled for one entire village. The LCA determined the avoided emissions and damages (human health, ecosystem quality, climate change, and resource use) per kg material recovered, per product, and for an entire recycling community, with a benefit of 2.7 to 25.4 kg CO2 eq avoided per product piece. Informal e-waste recycling appears relatively efficient in material recovery and economically beneficial. Recyclers recovered 93% or more of the original mass of the products. Just over 460,000 kg of waste devices were processed each year, with a net value added of 2.1 million Thai Baht. Each year, the normalized environmental net benefits amount to 0.2 DALYs for human health, 60,000 kg CO2 eq in climate change impacts, and nearly 400,000 MJ in avoided resource damages each month. Informal e-waste recycling was found to have net benefits in terms of avoided emissions, in particular due to recovery of PCBs, copper, steel and plastic with the exception of improper disposal of hazardous materials of lead in landfilled CRT screens and burned cables.
... In the European Union, there are two directives in e-waste handling, namely the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) directive and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS). The recycling rate of e-waste in the European Union is around 35% higher than the e-waste recycling rate in the US since the management of e-waste in the EU is implemented by these two directives [19]. The purpose of the WEEE directive is to increase the collection percentage for EoL electronic products from 65% by 2012 to 85% in 2016. ...
... Retailers then transfer the used product to established collection centres, and companies are required to recycle e-waste. The recycling rate of e-waste in Japan is around 75% under this law because consumers have a greater finical responsibility [19]. Until 2004, more than 40 e-waste recycling centres in Japan have been established and they are partially supported by the local governments or electronic companies. ...
Article
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Electronic waste (e-waste) has become one of the fastest-growing waste, leading a globe issue. Reverse supply chain (RSC) is considered a potential way for e-waste management. Over the last two decades, RSC has received significant attention from industries, governments, experts, and researchers. A large number of studies have been published in the field of e-waste RSC. Most of the existing review papers concentrated on the general RSC models for all types of returned products. However, the review papers focusing on specific products, such as e-waste, are quite limited. To fill this gap published papers in the area of RSC for a specific product, e-waste, from 1999 to 2019 have been selected for review and analysis in this study. E-waste RSC studies have been divided into four main groups, namely, factors of implementation, performance evaluation and decision making, foresting product returns, and network design. Finally, some potential directions for e-waste RSC models have been suggested for future research.
... After a few years, both Directives were revised, and the new (recast) WEEE Directive (2012/19/EU) entered into force in August 2012. The WEEE Directive aims to prevent the generation of e-waste, as well as to improve the performance of the treatment operations for the reuse, recycling and other forms of recovery (Wäger and Hischier, 2015). The WEEE Directive establishes three technical indicators to monitor WEEE systems efficiency: collection rate, recycling, preparation for reuse rate, and recovery rate (art. ...
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Currently, in the European Union (EU), e-waste chain performance is assessed by technical indicators that aim to ensure system compliance with collection and recovery targets set by the WEEE Directive. This study proposes indicators to improve WEEE flow monitoring beyond the current overall weight-based approach, including complementary flows and treatment performance. A case study focused on the screen category in France is presented. In 2017, the collection rate of cathode-ray tube screens (CRT) was 68%, while for flat panel display (FPD) generated only 14% was collected. CRT screens have less precious and critical materials than FDP. Thus, elements like cobalt and gold highly concentrated in FPD, have a collection rate two to four times lower than elements such as copper (37%) which represents a high proportion in CRTs. Recycling is the main treatment in France. Nevertheless, the recycling rate per element varies significantly due to the low collection, and also the lack of technology and/or secondary raw materials market. The elements with higher recycling rates are base metals such as copper (28%), followed by precious metals like silver (23%), and gold (13%). Except for palladium, the recycling rate of the critical raw materials targeted in the study ranged from 6% (cobalt) to 0% (e.g. neodymium and indium). The results stress the need for indicators to support the development of WEEE chain from waste management to secondary (critical) raw materials suppliers.
... Given the increasing volume of consumption and disposal (Baldé et al., 2015), shorter product life cycles, and frequent replacements (Nnorom and Osibanjo, 2008), modular production with standardized components (Dedrick and Kraemer, 1998), and their impact on the environment (e.g. Bigum et al., 2012;Wager and Hischier, 2015), electronic products provide strong reasons for sharing, recycling, and remanufacturing in order to optimize resources. As a result, some studies (e.g. ...
Article
The circular economy presents a practical solution to the earth’s resource limitations. To succeed, it is imperative for consumers to engage in circular economy practices. Are consumers buying in to these practices, however? This study examines consumer acceptance of three CE practices in East and Southeast Asia: using shared platforms, buying recycled goods, and purchasing remanufactured products. Focusing on electronic gadgets, the exploratory study of 584 Asian consumers yielded four findings: (1) Asia generates a large amount of e-waste, but the level of awareness of CE facilities and programs is limited; (2) although consumers are willing to try sharing platforms, they are concerned about being exploited or cheated; (3) consumer acceptance of recycled and remanufactured products in Asia is low because of their concern of reliability and quality; and (4) consumers are still willing to buy these products in the future because of their environmental- and cost-consciousness. We recommend that policy makers and companies work on various ways to promote circular economy practices, such as targeting certain demographic groups, managing consumers’ trust, allaying their concerns, improving offerings, and appealing to innovation-minded consumers.
... Regarding metals, it is assumed that the main materials are recycled copper, aluminum, and steel, based on an assumption conducted by [41]. Therefore, the assumption made in this article of only considering copper, aluminum, and steel is considered a conservative scenario in terms of the impact avoided. ...
Article
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Life cycle assessment (LCA) tools can be used for the environmental assessment of municipal solid waste management (MSWM) systems. The present study aims to evaluate the impact of an MSWM system in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, under three different scenarios based on the Strategy for 2045 of Riyadh. The current scenario (S0) considers that municipal solid waste (MSW) is landfilled, scenario one (S1) considers waste to energy (WtE) as the main treatment while dry recyclables and organic waste collection schemes are introduced, and scenario two (S2) considers dry recyclables and organic waste collection schemes at the maximum level while the residual portion is treated as WtE. The system boundaries include MSW treatment and disposal by recycling, incineration, composting, and landfilling methods. The scenarios were compared using SimaPro 9.1.1.1 software, and the ReCiPe 2016 Midpoint (H) V1.04/World (2010) H method was used to assess global warming, ozone formation (human health), fine particulate matter formation, terrestrial acidification, freshwater eutrophication, mineral resource scarcity, and fossil resource scarcity. S0 was found to be the scenario with the least impact if considering just the waste treatment. However, S1 and S2 allow material and energy recovery that avoids the impact of obtaining primary resources. S1 and S2 reduced greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by 55% and 58%, respectively, compared to S0. According to the SV2030, 2% of the electricity generated by the Kingdom would have to come from WtE, but based on the calculations, the maximum electricity from waste would be obtained with S1 fully implemented and would contribute a maximum of 1.51% to Saudi Arabia’s electricity demand. This study contributes by providing useful insights that could help decision-makers to understand the potential environmental impacts by assessing each step considered by the Strategy for 2045 for Riyadh along with the consequences on material and energy supply by using the material and energy potential of MSW.
... The impact from virgin plastic are higher 1.43 times in GWP, 1.20 times in HH, 1.04 times in ED and 18.51 times in RA. The results are in line with another study on plastics recycling, which showed that the virgin plastic production has a higher impact than recycling plastic production by 6-10 times (Patrick & Roland, 2015). ...
... Recycling is an attractive option for thermoplastics, especially for those used in high volumes, such as PETE and polyethylene (PE). It can diminish the use of natural resources and global warming [6,7]; however, it requires separation techniques that produce pure raw materials that can be incorporated into new products [8][9][10]; this need for segregation hinders the ability of many plastics to be recycled [11]. Energy recovery, on the other hand, can be achieved through direct combustion or by the production of refuse-derived fuel [12][13][14][15]; one of its advantages is its capacity to treat mixed plastics. ...
Article
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Plastic waste is an issue of global concern because of the environmental impact of its accumulation in waste management systems and ecosystems. Biodegradability was proposed as a solution to overcome this problem; however, most biodegradable plastics were designed to degrade under aerobic conditions, ideally fulfilled in a composting plant. These new plastics could arrive to anaerobic environments, purposely or frequently, because of their mismanagement at the end of their useful life. This review analyzes the behavior of biodegradable and conventional plastics under anaerobic conditions, specifically in anaerobic digestion systems and landfills. A review was performed in order to identify: (a) the environmental conditions found in anaerobic digestion processes and landfills, as well as the mechanisms for degradation in those environments; (b) the experimental methods used for the assessment of biodegradation in anaerobic conditions; and (c) the extent of the biodegradation process for different plastics. Results show a remarkable variability of the biodegradation rate depending on the type of plastic and experimental conditions, with clearly better performance in anaerobic digestion systems, where temperature, water content, and inoculum are strictly controlled. The majority of the studied plastics showed that thermophilic conditions increase degradation. It should not be assumed that plastics designed to be degraded aerobically will biodegrade under anaerobic conditions, and an exact match must be done between the specific plastics and the end of life options that they will face.
... Various studies have analyzed and research on how to develop a model framework for the waste materials to be circulated back into the manufacturing cycle (Nagurney and Toyasaki, 2005). Materials for new manufacturing should be obtained by mining e-waste rather than procuring raw materials from nature (Wäger and Hischier, 2015). In this study, the modified-SIRA method is used for the evaluation of the risk which is viable in the case of Pakistan. ...
Article
Electronic waste (E-Waste) is a progressively increasing problem for all developing nations. Developing nations like Pakistan, India and China are well renowned for the business of e-waste recycling. With the current rudimentary techniques of recycling used in Pakistan, e-waste presents different risks to the environment and the society with nominal financial gain. The study looks to answer how the e-waste makes its way to Pakistan, what are the risks of the industry and how they affect the population of Pakistan. For this purpose, a method called Modified-Safety Improve Risk Assessment (Modified-SIRA) was used. Modified-SIRA has identified six risks which are a severe hazard to a developing nation such as Pakistan. Each individual risk has been quantified by assigning it with an individually calculated Total Risk Priority Number (TRPN). Furthermore, the risks have been prioritized by the use of Fuzzy-VIseKriterijumska Optimizacija I Kompromisno Resenje (FVIKOR) to assess their impact on the sustainability of the e-waste recycling industry. This study provides evidence that among various risks air pollution from the e-waste recycling process is a severe hazard to the population of a developing country like Pakistan. It further helps to highlight the fact that the population of a developing country tend to ignore e-waste emanating from their expanded use of electronics. Additionally, the present use of rudimentary and non-standardized techniques of material extraction does not possess the capability of sustainably financing the industry. The study further concludes as to which practices and methods can be applied to reduce the impacts and improve the overall sustainability of the industry.
... Kreiger et al. (2014) reported that distributed recycling used less embodied energy than the centralized recycling of plastic waste. Wäger and Hischier (2015) reported that the production of virgin plastic products has higher environmental impacts than the use of recycled plastics products. ...
Article
Life cycle assessment is a decision-supporting tool in waste management practice; however, very few researches have been performed on the evaluation of healthcare waste management based on life cycle perspective. So this preliminary life cycle assessment study was conducted on healthcare waste management in Chittagong city. Three scenarios were developed for the present healthcare waste management system based on previous data along with one proposed scenario. All the calculated values of each scenario were put into life cycle assessment database. Then the collected data were analyzed by adopting SimaPro 7 to calculate global warming, human toxicity, freshwater aquatic ecotoxicity and terrestrial ecotoxicity potential from healthcare waste management. Conducting a preliminary life cycle assessment study based on the present waste management scenarios in Bangladesh is very tough task. In contrary, there is a good prospect to conduct life cycle assessment study if appropriate implementation of the laws and technical supports can be ensured. It was found that open burning and incineration of healthcare waste mainly contributed to the global warming and human toxicity potential. Disposal of healthcare waste by dumping (landfilling) mainly contributed to the freshwater aquatic ecotoxicity and terrestrial ecotoxicity potential. The proposed scenario demonstrated remarkable lower impacts for each category than the private and local government healthcare waste management systems.
... The EoL phase matters if polymer materials are compared to fuels to answer the question whether CCU provides higher relative GHG reduction in the transport or in the industry sector. Material recycling 51,52 and incineration in the EoL phase [53][54][55][56] of polymer materials influences the lifecycle wide GHG emissions when recycled CO 2 is used, but not in the EoL phase of fuels. ...
Article
The European Commission as well as the German government favor an energetic use of methanol from CO 2 recycling with their legislation and funding mechanisms. This study uses the product climate footprint and the product material footprint to assess the complete life cycle of fossil-based polypropylene, polyoxymethylene, heavy fuel oil, petrol and diesel compared to a functional equivalent product manufactured with methanol from recycled CO 2. Assuming that renewable electricity from wind power feeds the electrolysis for the hydrogen production, the results confirm that the use of recycled CO 2 reduces the climate footprint, but increases the material footprint as a trade-off. The substitution of polyoxy-methylene provides the highest climate footprint reduction closely followed by the substitution of petrol, followed by polypropylene, heavy fuel oil and diesel. Solely for polyoxymethylene, petrol and heavy fuel oil the greenhouse gas emission savings are relatively higher than the additional material demand. Material recycling and energy substitution from plastics waste incineration provide a benefit to the footprints that is by a factor of three higher than for the substitution of fossil-based polymers alone. The analysis until 2050 reveals that the additional material demand is reduced due to the defossilization of the German electricity grid.
... Such costs strongly depend on the country and existing tax system and whether the plastics are considered hazardous or non-hazardous waste (e.g. plastics containing BR FRs) (European Commission, 2012; European Environment Agency, 2019). These avoided costs support the economic performance of mechanical recycling, which also results in a significantly better environmental performance (Dodbiba et al., 2008;Wäger and Hischier, 2015). ...
Article
This two paper series describes a method to develop and evaluate innovative recycling strategies for WEEE plastics. Part A presents a SWOT analysis of a new dismantling based recycling process of plastic components and the integration in an existing post-shredder separation recycling facility. Subsequently, recycling strategies are developed and the economic potential is evaluated. Part B investigates the technical feasibility of the recycling strategies. As a case study the dismantling of LCD TV plastic back cover housings is taken. First, the advantages and disadvantages of the new process and the main external factors based on the market for recycled plastics and the waste material input are discussed on industrial level. Subsequently, five recycling strategies are developed: Strategy (1) produces recycled granulates with the dismantling process for direct re-application in electronic products, strategy (2) recycles plastics for the use as carrier materials for flame retardant masterbatches, strategy (3) blends the recycled plastic with post-shredder recyclates for material upgrading, strategy (4) recycles the plastics with the post-shredder process and strategy (5) thermally treats plastics. Finally, the economic evaluation shows that the special engineering plastics used for LCD TV back covers have very high virgin prices up to 5 € per kg. The implementation of the new process indicates a significant potential for value recovery based on plastics that would otherwise be incinerated or downcycled.
... The remaining 50% is recycled as material. For this fraction, the substitution rate (sample considered: 0.05 kg Polyamide and 0.05 kg Polyethylene) is assumed 0.5, a conservative factor on the basis of literature references for WEEE-derived plastics (Wäger and Hischier, 2015). Reuse, even if cited in literature (Park and Park, 2014), has not been considered. ...
Article
The paper contributes at filling the lack of knowledge on Photovoltaic (PV) panels recycling through the analysis of a mobile mechanical treatment plant developed within the context of a European project. The process, the machinery installed in the system and their main functionalities are described. The data are used to perform a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) focused on the End-of-Life (EoL) process, assuming as Functional Unit (FU) the treatment of a 20 kg PV panel. The system boundaries include construction and operation of the device as well as recycling and incineration of different material fractions performed outside the plant. The inventory is mainly based on primary data coming from a collection carried out directly on the recycling device. The results show that impacts are concentrated on operation stage mainly due to energy consumption involved in milling and separation activities. The analysis of different operation steps reveals that pre-treatment gives the highest contribution, followed by glass and silicon separation with the lowest quota attributable to copper and polymeric fraction separation. Considering also recycling and incineration processes of EoL waste, the environmental credits due to the avoided production of virgin raw materials counterbalance the burdens of construction and operation for most of impact categories. The comparison of results with existing LCAs of fixed recycling installations stresses that the use of a mobile system involves considerable environmental benefits thanks to the reduction of transports needed to move EoL PV waste to the recycling facility site.
... Some studies focused on the environmental impacts of the recycling process (Dormer et al., 2013;Gu et al., 2017). Some studies compared environmental friendliness between recycled plastics and virgin plastics for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (Seike et al., 2018;Stichnothe and Azapagic, 2013), polyethylene (PE) (Sommerhuber et al., 2017), polypropylene (PP) (Vantsi and Karki, 2015;Yin et al., 2016), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) (Shen et al., 2010), and mixed plastics from waste electrical and electronic equipment (Wager and Hischier, 2015). Many researchers focused on the comparison of different EOL treatment technologies for waste plastics. ...
Article
As the world’s largest producer and consumer of plastics, China is also the largest producer and recycler of waste plastics. It is necessary to explore the environmental impacts of actual end-of-life (EOL) treatments of waste plastics in China. In this study, a life cycle assessment (LCA) was conducted to evaluate the environmental impacts of mechanical recycling of waste plastics as well as incineration and landfilling with municipal solid waste in China. The results indicate the environmental benefits of current EOL treatments of waste plastics in China. Mechanical recycling was a negative and decisive contributor, with a minimum impact on terrestrial acidification potential (-83.4%) and a maximum impact on global warming potential (-165.8%). Incineration had negative contributions to 8 of the 12 environmental indicators, and landfilling was a positive contributor to all environmental impacts. Scenarios of treatment pattern, recycling technologies and import policy were set to analyze the potential reduction in environmental impacts of future EOL treatments of waste plastics. Increasing the proportion of mechanical recycling would reduce all environmental impacts, including up to 51.8% on particulate matter formation potential. Energy conservation and emission reduction in atmospheric pollutants would effectively reduce the environmental impacts of mechanical recycling. Banning waste plastics imports would decrease the transportation distances of waste plastics, thereby reducing the related environmental impacts, most notably a reduction of 84.8% for marine ecotoxicity potential. This study provides robust references for waste plastics management in China.
... Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing management is still a long way off [19]. E-waste rules are almost complete in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia [20]. ...
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This study investigates the behaviour for e-waste return using theory of planned behaviour (TPB). The factors influencing intention and behaviour are explored when it comes to e-waste returns in Thailand. We included attitude, social norms, perceived behavioural control, incentives, intention, and behaviour as additional variables in the model. A survey was used to collect a sample of 412 people, and the data were statistically evaluated using structural equation modeling (SEM). Intention was not really found to be significantly associated to subjective norms However, the relationship between incentives and return intention was found out. Intention to return and behaviour of e-waste return were also found to have a substantial positive association. The findings have aided in determining the relative magnitude of variables of intention for e-waste return that lead to returning behaviour.
... Lo we r hai rin ess of the rin g-s pun yar n De cre asi ng the rm al res ista nce The life cycle assessment (LCA), by evaluation of energy and material consumptions, emissions in the environment, and disposal of wastes, can be a helpful way to the determination of the potential advantages of recycling works (Martin et al. 2020). Many studies have been published on the LCA of recycling post-consumer PET and have reported that better environmental gains can be achieved from mechanical recycling compared to landfill and incineration with energy recovery (Wäger and Hischier 2015;Wäger et al. 2011;Al-Maaded et al. 2012). Bataineh (Bataineh 2020b) studied the LCA of recycling postconsumer PET and showed that the total energy requirements for the recycled PET flake are 14-17% of the virgin PET flake. ...
Article
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Increasing demand for non-biodegradable plastics undesirably leads to their accumulation and calls for an appropriate solution for this global crisis. Environmental impacts of PET waste have long been addressed; although some remedies have been proposed, their extensive use in the modern world use demands new studies and recycling techniques. It shows the inadequacy of previous solutions to eliminate this environmental problem. Therefore, researching this subject should not be considered an insignificant issue. Distinctively, this review article has a specific reliance on the use of recycled PET fibers in the production of high-consumption and value-added products that, in addition to considering environmental aspects, can also be attractive to the market. This article deals with recent studies in three product categories (concrete, nonwoven fabrics, yarns) made from recycled PET fibers and shows the high potential of PET fibers for the future industry.
... A calorific value of 31 MJ/kg is assumed as an average for mixed plastic waste streams, which is known to vary between 27,9 and 38,4 MJ/kg [9]. This embedded energy is valorised to produce power and heat at a gross efficiency, for which default values from ecoinvent have been used: 26% and 13% for heat generation and electricity generation respectively, hence yielding 4.0 MJ of electricity and 8.1 MJ of heat per kg of incinerated plastic [10]. ...
Article
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) comprises a complex mix of engineering plastic grades often containing flame retardants. Whereas post-shredder recycling strategies are widely implemented, considerably higher economic and environmental returns can be expected based on information-rich dismantling scenarios. This paper therefore presents the results of an extensive technological feasibility study on diversified recycling strategies for a dismantling based approach. Results of mechanical and flammability tests as well as injection moulding trials are moreover presented to show the quality and potential of the recycling strategies. Subsequently, the environmental impact reduction potential is assessed using Life Cycle Assessment.
... On the other hand, CE strategies at the level of components and products can extend the lifetime of EEE, postponing the need for recycling. Often, CE strategies are evaluated at the level of products -reuse, remanufacture, or refurbish (e.g.André et al., 2019;Boldoczki et al., 2020;Tecchio et al., 2016) -or at the level of materials -recycling, or downcycling (e.g.Van Eygen et al., 2016;Wäger and Hischier, 2015). However, from the CE definition above, one should assess these strategies simultaneously considering materials functionality over time and their environmental benefit and burden. ...
Thesis
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Our society has an astounding and increasing consumption of materials. By 2050, three planets could be needed to provide resources for our current lifestyle. The world’s climate is the direct subject of how the global economy manages natural resources, and resource efficiency will be vital to meet the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals. In this sense, the circular economy concept can influence how we manage resources. The circular economy can promote the responsible and cyclical use of resources. In recent years, a circular economy has been endorsed as a policy to minimise burdens to the environment and stimulate the economy. The recent New Circular Economy Action Plan intends to achieve carbon neutrality and more efficiency in resources and materials management in the European Union. The supply chain of materials can much benefit from circular economy strategies to recover materials and products. However, despite the benefits of keeping materials in the loop, there will always be environmental burdens and cumulative use of resources associated with a chosen circular economy strategy. Thus, to target better policy towards a circular economy, indicators considering sustainability are needed. In the context of the Policy Research Centre for Circular Economy (Steunpunt Circulaire Economie) promoted by the Flemish Administration, this doctoral dissertation aimed to develop circularity indicators of materials in supply chains. As the initial step, this dissertation focused on understanding the state-of-the-art of circular economy indicators in chapter 2. A classification framework is proposed to categorise indicators according to the reasoning of what indicators measure (circular economy strategies) and how they do so (measurement scopes). There are plenty of circular economy strategies, but they can be grouped according to their attempt to preserve functions, products, components, materials, or embodied energy. The measurement scope can show how indicators account for technological cycles (with or without a life cycle thinking approach) or the effects of such cycles on environmental, social, or economic aspects. We illustrated the framework with micro-scale indicators from literature and macro-scale indicators from the European Union’s ‘circular economy monitoring framework’. The framework illustration showed that most of the indicators focus on preserving materials, with strategies such as recycling. Although micro-scale indicators can assess strategies considering a life cycle thinking approach, the European indicators often account for materials-based strategies without much life cycle thinking consideration. From the indicators considering life cycle thinking, few indicators assessed time, despite many circular economy definitions explicitly referring to an economy ‘where resources are kept for as long as possible.’ Furthermore, none of the analysed indicators could assess the preservation of functions (related to circular economy strategies such as sharing platforms). Finally, the framework illustration suggested that a set of indicators should be used to assess circular economy instead of a single indicator. Circular economy strategies of slowing and closing loops of resources have the ultimate goal of keeping materials useful (i.e., in-use) while avoiding losses (dissipation). With this reasoning, this dissertation proposed a set of indicators in chapter 3. We proposed measuring the circularity of materials by quantifying their in-use occupation, that is, the maintenance of materials in a useful state in products for as long as possible while avoiding dissipation or hibernation. Specifically, two indicators were developed: in-use occupation ratio (UOR) and final retention in society (FRS). These indicators were applied in two case studies (materials in laptops and wood products) with three scenarios each: linear, product preservation (reuse), and material preservation (recycling). The reuse scenarios generally presented a higher UOR (41–48% for laptop materials and 53% for wood) compared to recycling scenarios (29–45% for laptop materials and 52% for wood). Only two scenarios of wood products resulted in retaining materials for the next generation (FRS > 0%). We argue that the differentiation between supply, in-use, and hibernation phases is essential for a circular economy. UOR and FRS can measure the use of materials over time while considering life cycle thinking. In this sense, the in-use occupation-based indicators are a proxy for the benefit, or handprint, that materials provide in society. However, these indicators miss the connection with sustainability, particularly the environmental footprint caused by using such materials. Hence, in chapter 4, we further developed these indicators using the concept of resource efficiency to indicate the handprint and footprint of the used materials. We illustrated the developed indicators, resource efficiency of in-use occupation (EffOcc) and of final retention (EffFRS), with a case study of four materials (aluminium, copper, iron, and plastics) embedded in laptops. The study included scenarios with different circular economy strategies: energy recovery, recycling, refurbishing, and reuse. The scenarios showed the use of the materials in several cycles of laptops over a 25-year time horizon. Scenarios with cycles of refurbishment and reuse showed an improvement in EffOcc up to 189% and 157%, respectively, when compared to energy recovery. Nonetheless, it was remarkable that the average EffOcc and EffFRS showed a preference for refurbishing scenarios over reuse, considering the 25-year time horizon. Finally, we concluded this dissertation in chapter 5 with further analysis, perspectives, and concluding remarks. Firstly, we critically assessed the proposed indicators (chapter 3 and 4) against the classification framework (chapter 2). The proposed indicators can measure a wide range of circular economy strategies. However, more work is still needed to assess function-related strategies. Still, we suggested possible pathways so that indicators could analyse such strategies. Secondly, we suggested future development of the in-use occupation concept with life cycle assessment, particularly the development of impact assessment methods for material inaccessibility and suggestions for using the indicators in policy-making. Finally, we presented this dissertation concluding remarks.
... The concept of scientific landfilling is brought upon to cater to the Alhazami et al. proposed the impact categories for LCA of the plastic waste as global warming potential, ecotoxicity potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, abiotic (fossils and elements) depletion, human toxicity, photochemical oxidation potential, stratospheric (ozone) depletion potential, and particulate matter formation potential as shown in Figure 3. The authors based the impact categories on reviewing more than a dozen LCA studies carried out on plastic products such as PET bottles, [40,41] mixed plastic waste, [7,[42][43][44][45][46] polyolefin waste, [47,48] packaging waste, [49][50][51] electrical and electronic equipment, [52] etc. They also summarized that drawing a comparison from various LCA studies is extremely hard and onerous as the need/goal is the basis on which the study is designed. ...
Article
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Plastics around the globe have been a matter of grave concern due to the unavoidable habits of human mankind. Taking waste statistics in India for the year 2019–20 into account, the data of 60 major cities show that the generation of plastic waste stands tall at around 26,000 tonnes/day, of which only about 60 % is recycled. A majority of the non‐recycled plastic waste is petrochemical‐based packaging materials that are non‐biodegradable in nature. Vegetative/food waste is another global issue, evidenced by vastly populated countries such as China and India accounting for 91 and 69 tonnes of food wastage, respectively in 2019. The mitigation of plastic packaging issues has led to key scientific developments, one of which is biodegradable materials. However, there is a way that these two waste‐related issues can be fronted as the analogy of “taking two shots with the same arrow”. The presence of various bio‐compounds such as proteins, cellulose, starch, lipids, and waxes, etc., in food and vegetative waste, creates an opportunity for the development of biodegradable packaging films. Although these flexible packaging films have limitations in terms of mechanical, permeation, and moisture absorption characteristics, they can be fine‐tuned in order to convert the biobased raw material into a realizable packaging product. These strategies could work in replacing petrochemical‐based non‐biodegradable packaging plastics which are used in enormous quantities for various household and commercial packaging applications to combat the ever‐increasing pollution in highly populated countries. This paper presents a systematic review based on modern scientific tools of the literature available with a major emphasis on the past decade and aims to serve as a standard resource for the development of biodegradable packaging films from food/vegetative waste. Vegetative and food waste derived biodegradable packaging films from a sustainability perspective.
... In waste management studies (e.g. Huysman et al., 2017;Rigamonti et al., 2014;Rosado et al., 2019;Van Eygen et al., 2018;Wäger and Hischier, 2015) the substituted material is often assumed to be the exact same as the original waste material, neglecting to recognize that changes in the material properties might allow a utilization of the secondary material only for purposes different from the original one. How much material is substituted is often simplistically assessed by the application of a substitution factor (e.g. in Gu et al., 2017;Huysman et al., 2017;Neo et al., 2021;Rigamonti et al., 2014;Van Eygen et al., 2018). ...
Article
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Plastic recycling can provide environmental benefits by avoiding the detrimental impacts of alternative disposal pathways and enabling the substitution of primary materials. However, most studies aiming at increasing recycling rates have not investigated how the resulting secondary materials can be utilized in product manufacturing. This study assesses the future substitution potential of primary with secondary plastics, building on a material flow system of 11 plastic types in 54 product subsegments in Switzerland in 2017 with a recycling rate of 9%. In a prospective material flow analysis of a scenario for 2025, the collection rate of the plastic fractions collected in 2017 is increased to 80%. The secondary material flows are allocated to suitable uptaking product subsegments using a linear optimization. The maximum share of secondary materials utilizable in each product subsegment is estimated, whereby three sub-scenarios involving high, moderate and low allowed secondary material shares are modelled. Depending on plastic type and scenario, 21% to 100% of the secondary material gained can substitute for primary material, covering 11% to 17% of the total material demand. While the overall recycling rate could reach 23%, taking into account only the uptaken secondary materials a true recycling rate of only 17% results in the moderate applicability sub-scenario. Based on these results, the secondary material uptake can be said to constitute a limiting factor for increased future recycling. Therefore, thorough consideration of the possible secondary material application is a prerequisite for designing and assessing future recycling systems or for setting recycling rate targets.
... In Europe and around the world, some research groups are also trying to recycle the plastics from the e-waste, including those containing flame retardants [130,133]. In Romania, there is currently no recycling of plastic from the e-waste, except for authorized WEEELABEX companies that must ensure that the plastic, as well as all other resources, contain in the e-waste, reach a company from Romania or from abroad that recycles or treats them. ...
Article
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E-waste and end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) are fast-growing waste streams in the EU and beyond that require specific collection and treatment activities to avoid environmental pollution and resource depletion fed by the linear economy model. This paper aims to investigate the links between e-waste and ELVs streams and the circular economy approach of the EU. Romania is examined as a relevant case study for the central and eastern European Region regarding: (i) the current e-waste and ELVs management deficiencies and challenges in line with circular economy principles promoted by EU; (ii) analysis of E-waste and ELVs flows data; and (iii) best circular economy initiatives related to e-waste and ELVs in Romania, including the opportunity to create new jobs in treatment activities that the simple operations from the first stages of e-waste recycling can produce locally and regionally in Romania. This work points out the current knowledge gaps and future research directions for these special waste streams in Romania and beyond.
... Besides addressing the collection issue, CLSC on plastics also focused on the environmental impact of recycling and the environmental benefit obtained from recycled material. Wäger and Hischier (2015) and Hou et al. (2018) evaluated the environmental performance of plastic recycling compared to other plastic waste treatments. Both studies showed that recycling was a better option than incineration or landfilling; moreover, recycling provided environmental savings due to avoiding virgin material production. ...
Article
It is estimated that 12000 tons of plastic waste is annually generated from the agricultural sector in Finland, and more than half of it comprises bale wrap films. Up to 70% of plastic film waste from the agricultural sector in Finland goes into landfills, and only around 10% is recycled. Recycling plastic material is desirable in order to close the loop in achieving a circular economy. This paper aims to assess the environmental and economic implications of bale wrap collection and recycling within the Finnish context. Two different collection scenarios, S1 (once a year collection) and S2 (twice a year collection), covering 179 farms, were assessed. The research applied vehicle routing problem and environmental life cycle costing to quantify the cost and environmental impact per ton of granulate recycled material produced. It took a consequential approach, where the system boundary was expanded, and product substitution was considered. Overall, S1 offers 27% more economic savings with 36% less global warming potential (GWP) than S2. The collection phase, which has not commonly been included in existing recycling studies, shows significance in both scenarios. Although it only contributed about 0.7-1.2% to GWP, collection accounted for 32-36% of the total economic cost. Critical parameters were primarily associated with the market substitution factor and material loss during the recycling process. This study demonstrates that recycling bale wrap can provide environmental and economic savings. Furthermore, it shows the importance of decision-makers in prioritizing goals to balance environmental and economic objectives.
... This helped to determine the significance and influences of selected data and evaluation methods on the LCA results. 27,28 ...
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Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles of water have experienced huge growth in demand and sales in South Africa. This expansion in use creates challenges as well as opportunities for managing the life cycle impact. The properties that make PET desirable for fluid-containing bottles have also made it highly resistant to environmental biodegradation. Reusable plastic bottles are now marketed as a solution to reduce the impact of single-use plastic bottles. We assessed the life cycle impact of single-use PET bottles and an alternative, reusable PET bottle based on consumption patterns in South Africa and the material flow and supply chain in the urban environment. This robust consideration of local conditions is important in evaluating the life cycle impact. In an examination of 13 impact categories, the reusable PET bottle had lower impact than the single-use bottle in all the impact categories examined. The mass of PET bottle material required to deliver the water needs at any given time is a dominant factor on the environmental burden. Extending the life of reusable bottles and designing lighter weight bottles would reduce their life cycle impact. Information obtained in evaluating alternatives to plastic water bottles can be valuable for providing a foundation assessment for policymakers and plastic bottle manufacturers to make informed choices and to focus on improvements in life cycle impact. Significance: • The significant impact of the production phase in the life cycle of both single-use and reusable PET bottles confirms the need to design a much more lightweight bottle to reduce the mass of materials used in production. • Another key consideration was the long transportation distance covered during the production phase, and the negative impact of current vehicular emissions. Municipalities and waste collectors should consider the use of low-carbon transport. • This study highlights the value of extending the life of plastic bottles, as well as recycling for material recovery, remanufacturing and repurposing these bottles within the City. • The use of fewer, larger single-use bottles compared with a greater number of smaller single-use bottles is discussed.
... Recycling is viewed as one of the main routes to prevent plastic pollution, and, in the same way, to produce new materials [9,10]. However, WEEE plastics (WEEP) are more sites and an ABS nitrile group to explain the improvement in properties by the decrease in interfacial tension. ...
Article
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With the development of dark polymers for industrial sorting technologies, economically profitable recycling of plastics from Waste Electrical and Electronical Equipment (WEEE) can be envisaged even in the presence of residual impurities. In ABS extracted from WEEE, PP is expected to be the more detrimental because of its important lack of compatibility. Hence, PP was incorporated to ABS at different rates (2 to 8 wt%) with a twin-screw extruder. PP was shown to exhibit a nodular morphology with an average diameter around 1–2 µm. Tensile properties were importantly diminished beyond 4 wt% but impact resistance was decreased even at 2 wt%. Both properties were strongly reduced as function of the contamination rate. Various potential compatibilizers for the ABS + 4 wt% PP system were evaluated: PPH-g-MA, PPC-g-MA, ABS-g-MA, TPE-g-MA, SEBS and PP-g-SAN. SEBS was found the most promising, leading to diminution of nodule sizes and also acting as an impact modifier. Finally, a Design Of Experiments using the Response Surface Methodology (DOE-RSM) was applied to visualize the impacts and interactions of extrusion temperature and screw speed on impact resistance of compatibilized and uncompatibilized ABS + 4 wt% PP systems. Resilience improvements were obtained for the uncompatibilized system and interactions between extrusion parameters and compatibilizers were noticed.
... In the literature there are different approaches for the solution of plastic waste such as mechanical recycling, energy recovery and landfill [3,4]. In particular, mechanical recycling is environmentally friendly and represents an economically viable practice, where theoretically a saving of 20-50% of the market price is achieved compared to the virgin material [5][6][7][8]. Various methods have been tried out in the literature to promote the quality of the recycled plastic. The basic idea is to add other material during the melting process such as virgin polymers, fillers, fibers, compatibilizers etc. [9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]. ...
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Blends of two long-chain branched polypropylenes (LCB-PP) and five linear polypropylenes (L-PP) were prepared in a single screw extruder at 240 °C. The two LCB-PPs were self-created via reactive extrusion at 180 °C by using dimyristyl peroxydicarbonate (PODIC C126) and dilauroyl peroxide (LP) as peroxides. For blending two virgin and three recycled PPs like coffee caps, yoghurt cups and buckets with different melt flow rate (MFR) values were used. The influence of using blends was assessed by investigating the rheological (dynamic and extensional rheology) and mechanical properties (tensile test and impact tensile test). The dynamic rheology indicated that the molecular weight as well as the molecular weight distribution could be increased or broadened. Also the melt strength behavior could be improved by using the two peroxide modified LCB-PP blends on the basis of PODIC C126 or PEROXAN LP (dilauroyl peroxide). In addition, the mechanical properties were consistently enhanced or at least kept constant compared to the original material. In particular, the impact tensile strength but also the elongation at break could be increased considerably. This study showed that the blending of LCB-PP can increase the investigated properties and represents a promising option, especially when using recycled PP, which demonstrates a real “up-cycling” process.
... Some studies used problem-oriented (or midpoint) methodologies such as CML 2002 (Xiao et al., 2016), whereas others employed damage-oriented (or endpoint) methodologies such as Eco-indicator 99 (Yao et al., 2018). Several studies used recently-developed LCIA methodologies that combined both midpoint and endpoint approaches such as IMPACT 2002+ (Compagno et al., 2014) and ReCiPe 2016 (Wäger and Hischier, 2015). In this study, the endpoint indicators of the ReCiPe 2016 methodology (Huijbregts et al., 2017) were selected for the impact analysis and interpretation, as this LCIA methodology provided the latest and harmonized characterization factors that are representative on a global scale. ...
Article
The complexity of managing electrical and electronic waste (e-waste) prompted the need to evaluate the environmental performance of current e-waste management in Malaysia, focusing on future monitoring and planning. In this study, the environmental performance of four management options was evaluated based on the infrastructure currently available in Malaysia. Those options include 1) landfill disposal, 2) direct incineration with energy recovery, 3) materials recovery without energy recovery, and 4) materials recovery with energy recovery. These alternatives were evaluated using life cycle assessment (LCA) and material flow analysis (MFA). Two simple performance indicators, waste reduction rate (WRR) and environmental cost-benefit ratio (eCBR), were developed to interpret the study findings. Due to the lack of sufficient data on-site e-waste management and recycling in Malaysia, information from a variety of sources was utilized. Moreover, the focus of this study was limited to one specific type of e-waste – the printed wire board (PWB) from mobile phone. Surprisingly, our study concluded that direct incineration with energy recovery was the best of the four management options evaluated for e-waste management. The study results ran contrary to our initial expectations and the results of previous LCA studies on e-waste management. Because our interpretation of the study results had several limitations, recommendations were made to improve the evaluation of e-waste management and for more accurate and reliable analyses to assist in the future development of sustainable e-waste management practices. This study’s findings could serve as a useful reference to the many stakeholders working to develop sustainable e-waste management in Malaysia.
Article
Plastic recycling is mainly limited by their sorting as their natures, forms and formulation are very numerous and most of them are strongly incompatible, leading to poor mechanical properties. Several industrial sorting technologies exist, and others are in development. However, each of them has drawbacks. Especially, NIR-HSI (Near-Infrared Hyperspectral Imagery) is limited by the use of carbon black, mainly as a pigment and UV agent in the case of thermoplastics. MIR-HSI (Mid-Infrared) could be a suitable and viable alternative to resolve this issue. Hence, this work, based on laboratory FTIR-ATR (Fourier-Transform Infrared Attenuated Total Reflection), focuses on possible sources of spectral alteration, which could impair identification of usual polymers using industrial MIR-HSI. It aims to help simple and rapid laboratory characterization and give tools to avoid misidentification or enable specific segregation during industrial sorting. First, acquisition parameters were degraded to simulate those imposed by industrial conditions: short acquisition time, diminished resolution and blank defaults. Then, impact on formulations of usual WEEE (Waste of Electric and Electrical Equipment) plastics were evaluated, with PE, PP, ABS and HIPS as matrices, and carbon black (at different concentrations), calcite, talc, titanium oxide and some flame retardants as additives. Several patterns found in homemade standard samples were recognized within a stock of about one hundred of real waste samples.
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Electronics require a complex composition and energy-intensive manufacturing. Yet, most of the world's waste electrical and electronic equipment is not collected and recycled. Circular economy (CE) strategies can reduce the loss of materials and environmental footprint in electronics. Resource efficiency indicators – typically defined as benefits (handprint) over burdens (footprint) – can measure materials’ life cycle performance. This paper aims to develop resource efficiency indicators that show the benefits and burdens of materials use. We illustrated the indicators with a case study of four materials (aluminium, copper, iron, and plastics) embedded in laptops. The study includes scenarios with different CE strategies: energy recovery, recycling, refurbishing, and reuse. The scenarios show the use of the materials in several cycles of laptops over a 25-year time horizon. Generally, scenarios with cycles of refurbishment and reuse showed improved resource efficiency compared to recycling scenarios. Compared to energy recovery the improvement was up to 189% (refurbishment) and 157% (reuse) in the case of aluminium. Nonetheless, it is remarkable that the average resource efficiency results showed a preference for refurbishing over reuse during 25 years. The result is limited to a shorter functional in-use time of reused laptops. This analysis is relevant for a CE, where the value of materials should be kept for as long as possible. Our methodology expands the traditional one-cycle perspective by measuring the use of materials for 25 years. Policy-makers can use our indicators to assess CE strategies for several product cycles that keep materials in use lowering environmental impacts.
Article
Waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE, also known as E-Waste) has emerged as a serious issue for the whole world along with the evolution of modern industry. WEEE plastic contains heavy metals (arsenic, mercury, chromium, cadmium, lead, etc.) and halogen materials (bromine, chlorine, etc.), which are toxic and harmful to the environment, therefore the recycling of WEEE plastic is necessary and critical. Not only the various additives in the polymer but also the contaminations from polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), batteries, etc, make the recycling process challenging. In this review, the functional application of plastic in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) including electrical insulation, heat insulation, etc, is firstly introduced. The various components and additives of plastic in EEE are provided. Moreover, the state-of-the-art treatment and recycle methods of the WEEE plastic are summarized and discussed. This review can provide a comprehensive reference for investigation of plastic in e-waste.
Chapter
Plastic is one of the most essential parts of day‐to‐day life and has been used everywhere for many the applications. Plastics are a type of synthetic polymers mostly comprised of various elements such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, and chloride. Plastics are mainly manufactred from fossil sources such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Various popular and widely used plastics are polyethylene (PE), polyethyleneterephthalate (PET), polypropylene (PP), nylons, polystyrene (PS), polyurethane (PU), and polyvinylchloride (PVC). Plastics are mostly considered as a pollutant to the environment because of inefficient and non‐sustainable methods for disposal of them. Plastic wastes are responsible for increasing the ecological threat to all inhabitants of our planet. In 2015, almost 381 million tons of plastic was produced and it was cumulative as 7.81 billion tons by 2015. The used plastics are mainly discarded, incinerated, and recycled as methods of disposal. In view of the new circular economy and sustainable development context, the environmental performance of various services and products is a very important aspect, which has been gaining importance over the last few years. Environmental impacts during the lifecycle of products and services may be quantified with the help of various methods, such as strategic environmental assessment (SEA), environmental risk assessment (ERA), material flow analysis (MFA), life cycle assessment (LCA), environmental impact assessment (EIA), cost‐benefit analysis (CBA), and the ecological footprint (EF) method. Life cycle assessment is the most promising and popular method for assessing the environmental impact, and this methodology may be easily applied to every product and system to explain the type and the disparity among various results. This chapter focuses on life cycle assessment of plastics for the issues of sustainability. In view of this, various basic consideration of life cycle assessment such as basic approach, definitions, tools, frameworks, methodologies, ways, and classifications have been presented, and its application for plastic and plastic industries have been discussed.
Article
The present study investigated the potential recycles of acrylonitile butadiene styrene terpolymers (ABS) from their blends with polymethylmehtacrylate (PMMA), polyCarbonate (PC) and high impact polyStyrene (HIPS) using flotation separation assisted by ultrasonic catalyst/ H2O2. The effect of various factors such as H2O2 dose, duty cycle and contact time of the ultrasonication on the recovery rate and purity of ABS/PC were conducted. The results showed that H2O2 dose significantly influenced on the recovery rate of ABS/PC and the optimized H2O2 dose was found at 2%. The recovery rate and the purity of submerged ABS/PC reached 99.5 and 98.6%, respectively, at 300 s of contact time. The duty cycle and the contact time of the ultrasonification also exhibited highly effective for the recycle of ABS/PC from the plastic waste mixtures. The radical scavengers and the mechanism of flotation separation of ABS/PC by ultrasonic catalyst/ H2O2 were proposed. Additionally, the economic potential and environmental impacts were discussed. These findings are crucial for flotation separation of ABS/PC from the plastic waste mixtures assisted by ultrasonic catalyst/ H2O2 with high recovery rate and purity of ABS/PC in order to produce further value added products as well as reduce the environmental impact of plastic waste.
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Celem rozdziału jest analiza dostępnych mierników i wskaźników oceny wdrażania gospodarki o obiegu zamkniętym (GOZ) w obszarze zrównoważonej konsumpcji, ze szczególnym uwzględnieniem zagadnień dotyczących: zapobiegania powstawaniu odpadów komunalnych oraz minimalizowania ich ilości; ograniczania marnotrawienia żywności – odpowiedzialnej konsumpcji żywności; działań edukacyjnych w zakresie GOZ; gospodarki współdzielenia (sharing economy) w zakresie mobilności; wykorzystania odnawialnych źródeł energii. Konieczność budowy wskaźników służących ocenie wdrażania GOZ wynika m.in. z potrzeby monitorowania i oceny kierunków prowadzenia polityki publicznej zgodnej z GOZ. Zaproponowano zarówno ogólne wskaźniki oceny wdrażania GOZ, jak i szczegółowe, dotyczące wybranych aspektów zrównoważonej konsumpcji.
Article
Developing countries like India and Indonesia struggle with proper management of plastic waste, causing rampant plastic pollution that adversely impacts the ecosystem and potentially human health. In this study, life cycle assessment (LCA) was adopted to compare the environmental impact of end-of-life (EOL) treatment of 1 kg plastic waste in India and Indonesia based on the EOL mix, which includes mechanical recycling, co-processing in cement kilns, incineration, sanitary landfill, open dumping and open burning. Nine environmental impacts were considered, namely climate change, cumulative energy demand, water depletion and marine eco-toxicity, human toxicity, terrestrial acidification, fossil depletion, particulate matter formation and urban land occupation. Waste plastics EOL treatment in India was found to have a lower environmental impact than Indonesia among all nine categories, which was attributed to higher mechanical recycling rates in India. Hotspot analysis revealed that open burning is a major contributor to climate change, while landfills are the major contributor to marine eco-toxicity. A sensitivity analysis found that the percentage of plastic waste collection, percentage of uncollected plastic waste openly burnt, percentage of plastic rejects from recycling and percentage replacement of virgin plastic from recycled plastic granules were key sensitive parameters. The results of a future scenario analysis showed that further investments in mechanical recycling by 2030 can not only reduce mismanaged plastic waste, but also contribute towards the Paris Agreement carbon reduction pledges for both India and Indonesia. The results from this study can be used to support future waste management investment decisions in both countries.
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We currently landfill or export approximately 1 million metric tons per year of the Plastics that exist in electronic waste (E-Waste streams in the USA. Recycling these “e-plasticsE-Plastics domestically could help satisfy domestic demand for recycled Plastics, while saving the energy equivalent of 13 million barrels of oil (by replacing virgin Plastics with recycled Plastics). Domestic Recycling of E-Plastics should also stabilize the economics for Waste recycling, while eliminating some of the environmental risks associated with exporting E-Plastics. In this presentation, we provide an overview of technologies that are already available to process E-Plastics into valuable products. We also discuss remaining technical barriers and future developments that could allow us to achieve better quality and higher yields of E-Plastics.
Article
Невозможность для пользователей получения легкого доступа к каналам сбора отходов является устойчивой проблемой обращения с муниципальными твердыми отходами (MSW), что приводит к низким уровням сбора MSW. Возникла новая модель обращения с отходами “Интернет + Рециклинг”; эта модель дает возможность отдельным лицам договориться о месте сбора с помощью различных онлайн платформ, после чего 1 Ведущий международный рецензируемый журнал, освещающий экологические науки. Основан в 1972 г. и опубликован Elsevier (один из четырех крупнейших научных издательских домов мира, который ежегодно выпускает около четверти всех статей из издаваемых в мире научных журналов). Основан в 1880 г. 2 Факультет промышленного инжиниринга, Чжэцзянский научно-технический университет, Ханчжоу. 3 Национальный институт инновационного менеджмента, Чжэцзянский научнотехнический университет. 4 Институт науки и развития Академии наук КНР, Пекин. 5 Школа государственной политики и управления, университет Академии наук КНР, Пекин. 6 Факультет химической и экологической технологии университета Ноттингема, университет Нинбо, Чжэцзян. компании по сбору отходов проводят сбор в назначенном месте. Есть основания полагать, что “Интернет + Рециклинг” может стать решением для смягчения препятствий для сбора при обращении с MSW, так как эта модель обеспечивает отдельным лицам беспрепятственный доступ к формальным системам обращения с отходами. Однако пока еще не известно, принесет ли эта появившаяся модель сбора MSW выгоды для окружающей среды. Мы количественно исследовали массовый баланс и экологическую эффективность рециклинга MSW, связанные с использованием такого мобильного приложения “Интернет + Рециклинг” - Aibolv. Все хозяйственные сделки, совершаемые с помощью мобильного приложения, включены, и все связанные с ними действия моделируются с использованием методологии, которая объединяет анализ материальных потоков (MFA) и оценку жизненного цикла (LCA). Согласно действующему в Китае законодательству об обращении с MSW, мы классифицируем собранные MSW на три категории: субсидируемые отходы электротехнического и электронного оборудования7 (WEEE) типа телевизоров и холодильников - Т1, не субсидируемые WEEE типа мобильных телефонов - Т2 и другие пригодные для вторичной переработки фракции типа бумаги и тканей - Т3. Результаты MFA показывают, что пластмассы и неблагородные металлы являются доминирующими потоками вторичного сырья, а стекло, благородные металлы и металлы в составе гальванических элементов утилизируются главным образом из WEEE. Результаты LCA указывают, что размещение (удаление) отходов Т2 приносит наибольшие экологические выгоды благодаря утилизации благородных металлов. Возрастающие уровни модернизации оказывают негативное воздействие, в то время как возрастание количества мобильных телефонов может существенно повысить общие экологические показатели. На основе полученных результатов даны рекомендации для содействия будущему развитию модели “Интернет + Рециклинг”, а также определены ограничения этой работы.
Chapter
Recycling waste plastics/polymers is a waste management technique that is of interest to many researchers and corporate entities working in their respective areas. In the past 20 years, several applications and developments in this field have been reported. However, very few have reported on plastics waste management technique of recycling polymers metal powder reinforcement. In the present work, we report efforts that have been made to recycle waste plastics/polymers with metal powder reinforcement by controlling the melt flow index (MFI). Fused deposition modeling wires made of 100% low-density polyethylene (LDPE), LDPE+6% Fe, 100% high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and HDPE +10% Fe were prepared on single-screw extruder by controlling three input parameters (barrel temperature, die temperature, and screw speed). Investigations were performed regarding the parametric optimization of the single-screw extruder for different mechanical and metallurgical properties (such as peak elongation, break strength, shore D hardness, and percentage of porosity). The process parameters were optimized using Minitab software based on the Taguchi L9 orthogonal array and results are supported by photomicrographs.
Article
A huge increase of waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is observing everywhere in the world. Plastic component in this waste is more than 20% of the total and allows important environmental advantages if well treated and recycled. The resource recovery from WEEE plastics is characterised by technical difficulties and environmental concerns, mainly related to the waste composition (several engineering polymers, most of which containing heavy metals, additives and brominated flame retardants) and the common utilisation of sub-standard treatments for exported waste. An attributional Life Cycle Assessment quantifies the environmental performances of available management processes for WEEE plastics, those in compliance with the European Directives and the so-called substandard treatments. The results highlight the awful negative contributions of waste exportation and associated improper treatments, and the poor sustainability of the current management scheme. The ideal scenario of complete compliance with European Directives is the only one with an almost negligible effect on the environment, but it is far away from the reality. The analysed real scenarios have strongly negative effects, which become dramatic when exportation outside Europe is included in the waste management scheme. The largely adopted options of uncontrolled open burning and illegal open dumping produce huge impacts in terms of carcinogens (3.5·10+7 and 3.6·10+4 person⋅year, respectively) and non-carcinogens (1.7·10+8 and 2.0·10+6 person⋅year) potentials, which overwhelm all the other potential impacts. The study quantifies the necessity of strong reductions of WEEE plastics exportation and accurate monitoring of the quality of extra-Europe infrastructures that receive the waste.
Article
The low recyclability of the thermoplastic-based materials is still one of the most challenging issues to restrict environmental pollution. When the thermoplastics based materials are gathered in the form of the waste, and these declared as not to use further in any applications, then it processed through the chemical and thermal recycling for reuse and energy generation. The ternary and quaternary type of recycling processes are among the four basic recycling processes, which is considered under the chemical and thermal recycling process, respectively. The additive manufacturing is one of the revolutionary tools of a modern manufacturing system that can be used for recycling by chemical and thermal mean. This study is the state of art review for the additive manufacturing tools and techniques for the ternary and quaternary recycling of the thermoplastic waste. The thermal sustainability of the additively manufactured thermoplastic-based materials is the main highlights of this study.
Article
This paper develops a model to explore the relationships between social pressure, environmental commitment, green economic incentives, supply chain relationship management, sustainable supply chain design, and circular economy capability. Through data gathered from 212 small and medium enterprises (SMEs), this study applies confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and structural equation modelling (SEM) to test the model. Findings provide three main contributions to the body of literature. First, they confirm that environmental commitment and green economic incentives have a significant positive impact on supply chain relationship management and sustainable supply chain design. Second, they highlight the role of supply chain relationship management and sustainable supply chain design to improve the circular economy capabilities of SMEs. Third, they show a positive effect of social pressures on environmental commitment and green economic incentives. These results induce practitioners, academics, and policy makers to design strategic plans to encourage circular economy transition of SMEs and supply chains, as well as to focus their attention on the role of sustainability in supply chain management domain.
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Les retardateurs de flammes bromés (RFB) sont ajoutés aux polymères pour améliorer leur résistance à l’inflammabilité. Mais certains d’entre eux sont aujourd’hui considérés comme polluants organiques persistants (POP). Pour éviter que ces substances se propagent dans les flux de recyclage, les matières plastiques dont la concentration en brome est trop élevée (> 2000 ppm) sont généralement incinérées pour détruire les polluants qu’elles contiennent. L’objectif de ces travaux est de trouver une solution pour recycler la matière plastique contenant des RFB tout en respectant les réglementations. L’étude s’est focalisée sur un lot d’acrylonitrile-butadiène-styrène (ABS) issu d’un gisement réel de déchets d’équipements électriques et électroniques qui présente une concentration en POP environ quatre fois supérieure au seuil autorisant le recyclage. Des méthodes de traitement physico-chimiques permettant d’extraire les RFB ont donc été étudiées. Les extractions solides-liquides sous agitation et utilisant l’éther diéthylique ainsi que la dissolution-précipitation de la matière ont permis d’abaisser la concentration en POP sous le seuil réglementaire. Une étude poussée sur l’extraction avec du CO2 supercritique a également été menée et a montré son efficacité pour extraire les RFB mais des optimisations sont encore nécessaires. L’impact environnemental du recyclage de la matière a également été évalué en tenant compte des procédés de pré-traitement étudiés précédemment. L’optimisation de la consommation d’énergie et de solvant est nécessaire pour que le recyclage devienne plus viable que l’incinération. Les propriétés de la matière traitée montrent qu’elle pourrait être facilement recyclable. Elle présente néanmoins une résilience amoindrie qui pourra être améliorée lors d’une étape de formulation. Enfin, une application de cette matière dans une structure bicouche a été proposée afin d’améliorer son esthétisme et ses propriétés mécaniques. De bonnes adhésions avec un ABS et un ABS/PC vierges ont été obtenues expérimentalement garantissant de bonnes propriétés au multicouche.
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The influence of two peroxides (peroxydicarbonate/dilauroyl peroxide) with various concentrations (10–200 mmol/kg PP) and their effective opportunity to introduce long chain branched (LCB) were investigated. The dependence of a single and double extrusion step and the changes of the properties were studied. Experiments were carried out in a single screw extruder at 180°C for the first extrusion step (modification) and at 240°C for the second extrusion step (processing simulation). Melt flow rate and dynamic rheological properties were studied at a measuring temperature of 230°C. For the definitive determination of long chain branched polypropylene (LCB‐PP) served the extensional rheology measurements. The mechanical properties were examined via tensile test and impact tensile test. Summarized, LCB (melt strength) could be observed via extensional rheology for all modified specimens and the mechanical properties were maintained or even improved for the modified samples. Particularly, samples containing dilauroyl peroxide display excellent mechanical properties in this study.
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Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were the first brominated persistent organic pollutants (POPs) listed in the Stockholm Convention. Parties to the convention are currently establishing inventories for developing action plans for the environmentally sound management of PBDE-containing materials. The major use of commercial octabromodiphenyl ether (c-OctaBDE) has been in casings from cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs and computer monitors. Large quantities of used e-waste and electronic equipment have been exported to developing countries with Nigeria being a major importer in Africa. The casings from 382 TVs and computers imported from major world regions to Nigeria were sampled in backyards and waste dumps. The samples were screened with X-ray flourescence (XRF) for bromine and analysed by gas chromatography/ electron capture detection (GC/ECD) for brominated flame retardants (BFRs). A high proportion of the CRT casings (61 %) contained more than 10,000 ppm bromine from BFRs. Decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE) was the major flame retardant used in TV sets and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) for computer CRTs. The screening suggests that average PBDE levels (of c-OctaBDE + DecaBDE) in Nigerian-stockpiled CRT casings were 1.1 % for TV and 0.13 % for PC CRTs. These are above the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) limit and should be separated for RoHS compliant recycling. The Nigerian e-waste inventory of 237,000 t of CRT plastic would therefore contain approx. 594 t c-OctaBDE and 1,880 t of DecaBDE. In Nigeria, as for most developing countries, there is currently no adequate e-waste management, plastic separation or destruction capacity. The data highlight the urgent need to develop environmentally sound management for this large material flow.
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Rotary kiln incinerators and cement kilns are two energy intensive processes, requiring high temperatures that can be obtained by the combustion of fossil fuel. In both processes, fossil fuel is often substituted by high or medium calorific waste to avoid resource depletion and to save costs. Two types of industrial calorific waste streams are considered: automotive shredder residue (ASR) and meat and bone meal (MBM). These waste streams are of current high interest: ASR must be diverted from landfill, while MBM can no longer be used for cattle feeding. The environmental impact of the incineration of these waste streams is assessed and compared for both a rotary kiln and a cement kiln. For this purpose, data from an extensive emission inventory is applied for assessing the environmental impact using two different modeling approaches: one focusing on the impact of the relevant flows to and from the process and its subsystems, the other describing the change of environmental impact in response to these physical flows. Both ways of assessing emphasize different aspects of the considered processes. Attention is paid to assumptions in the methodology that can influence the outcome and conclusions of the assessment. It is concluded that for the incineration of calorific wastes, rotary kilns are generally preferred. Nevertheless, cement kilns show opportunities in improving their environmental impact when substituting their currently used fuels by more clean calorific waste streams, if this improvement is not at the expense of the actual environmental impact.
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A simulation model, ORWARE (ORganic WAste REsearch) is described. The model is mainly used as a tool for researchers in environmental systems analysis of waste management. It is a computer-based model for calculation of substance flows, environmental impacts, and costs of waste management. The model covers, despite the name, both organic and inorganic fractions in municipal waste. The model consists of a number of separate submodels, which describes a process in a real waste management system. The submodels may be combined to design a complete waste management system. Based on principles from life cycle assessment the model also comprises compensatory processes for conventional production of e.g. electricity, district heating and fertiliser. The compensatory system is included in order to fulfil the functional units, i.e. benefits from the waste management that are kept constant in the evaluation of different scenarios. ORWARE generates data on emissions, which are aggregated into different environmental impact categories, e.g. the greenhouse effect, acidification and eutrophication. Throughout the model all physical flows are described by the same variable vector, consisting of up to 50 substances. The extensive vector facilitates a thorough analysis of the results, but involves some difficulties in acquiring relevant data. Scientists have used ORWARE for 8 years in different case studies for model testing and practical application in the society. The aims have e.g. been to evaluate waste management plans and to optimise energy recovery from waste.
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This paper presents and critically analyses the current waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) management practices in various countries and regions. Global trends in (i) the quantities and composition of WEEE; and (ii) the various strategies and practices adopted by selected countries to handle, regulate and prevent WEEE are comprehensively examined. The findings indicate that for (i), the quantities of WEEE generated are high and/or on the increase. IT and telecommunications equipment seem to be the dominant WEEE being generated, at least in terms of numbers, in Africa, in the poorer regions of Asia and in Latin/South America. However, the paper contends that the reported figures on quantities of WEEE generated may be grossly underestimated. For (ii), with the notable exception of Europe, many countries seem to be lacking or are slow in initiating, drafting and adopting WEEE regulations. Handling of WEEE in developing countries is typified by high rate of repair and reuse within a largely informal recycling sector. In both developed and developing nations, the landfilling of WEEE is still a concern. It has been established that stockpiling of unwanted electrical and electronic products is common in both the USA and less developed economies. The paper also identifies and discusses four common priority areas for WEEE across the globe, namely: (i) resource depletion; (ii) ethical concerns; (iii) health and environmental issues; and (iv) WEEE takeback strategies. Further, the paper discusses the future perspectives on WEEE generation, treatment, prevention and regulation. Four key conclusions are drawn from this review: global amounts of WEEE will continue unabated for some time due to emergence of new technologies and affordable electronics; informal recycling in developing nations has the potential of making a valuable contribution if their operations can be changed with strict safety standards as a priority; the pace of initiating and enacting WEEE specific legislation is very slow across the globe and in some cases non-existent; and globally, there is need for more accurate and current data on amounts and types of WEEE generated.
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A model for input- and technology-dependent cradle-to-gate life cycle assessments (LCA)was constructed to quantify emissions and resource consumption of various clinker production options. The model was compiled using data of more than 100 clinker production lines and complemented with literature data and best judgment from experts. It can be applied by the cement industry for the selection of alternative fuels and raw materials (AFR) and by authorities for decision-support regarding the permission of waste co-processing in cement kilns. In the field of sustainable construction, the model can be used to compare clinker production options. Two case studies are presented. First, co-processing of four different types of waste is analyzed at a modern precalciner kiln system. Second, clinker production is compared between five kiln systems. Results show that the use of waste (tires, prepared industrial waste, dried sewage sludge, blast furnace slag) led to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, decreased resource consumption, and mostly to reduced aggregated environmental impacts. Regarding the different kiln systems, the environmental impact generally increased with decreasing energy efficiency.
Article
Sustainable development requires methods and tools to measure and compare the environmental impacts of human activities for the provision of goods and services (both of which are summarized under the term "products"). Environmental impacts include those from emissions into the environment and through the consumption of resources, as well as other interventions (e.g., land use) associated with providing products that occur when extracting resources, producing materials, manufacturing the products, during consumption/use, and at the products' end-of-life (collection/sorting, reuse, recycling, waste disposal). These emissions and consumptions contribute to a wide range of impacts, such as climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, tropospheric ozone (smog) creation, eutrophication, acidification, toxicological stress on human health and ecosystems, the depletion of resources, water use, land use, and noise-among others. A clear need, therefore, exists to be proactive and to provide complimentary insights, apart from current regulatory practices, to help reduce such impacts. Practitioners and researchers from many domains come together in life cycle assessment (LCA) to calculate indicators of the aforementioned potential environmental impacts that are linked to products-supporting the identification of opportunities for pollution prevention and reductions in resource consumption while taking the entire product life cycle into consideration. This paper, part 1 in a series of two, introduces the LCA framework and procedure, outlines how to define and model a product's life cycle, and provides an overview of available methods and tools for tabulating and compiling associated emissions and resource consumption data in a life cycle inventory (LCI). It also discusses the application of LCA in industry and policy making. The second paper, by Pennington et al. (Environ. Int. 2003, in press), highlights the key features, summarises available approaches, and outlines the key challenges of assessing the aforementioned inventory data in terms of contributions to environmental impacts (life cycle impact assessment, LCIA).
Article
Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are synthetic additives mainly used in electrical and electronic appliances and in construction materials. The properties of some BFRs are typical for persistent organic pollutants, and certain BFRs, in particular some polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), are suspected to cause adverse health effects. Global consumption of the most demanded BFRs, i.e., penta-, octa-, and decaBDE, tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), and HBCD, has doubled in the 1990s. Only limited and rather uncertain data are available regarding the occurrence of BFRs in consumer goods and waste fractions as well as regarding emissions during use and disposal. The knowledge of anthropogenic substance flows and stocks is essential for early recognition of environmental impacts and effective chemicals management. In this paper, actual levels of penta-, octa-, and decaBDE, TBBPA, and HBCD in waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) as a major carrier of BFRs are presented. These BFRs have been determined in products of a modern Swiss recycling plant applying gas chromatography/electron capture detection and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry analysis. A substance flow analysis (SFA) technique has been used to characterize the flows of target substances in the recycling process from the bulk WEEE input into the output products. Average concentrations in small size WEEE, representing the relevant electric and electronic appliances in WEEE, sampled in 2003 amounted to 34 mg/kg for pentaBDE, 530 mg/kg for octaBDE, 510 mg/kg for decaBDE, 1420 mg/kg for TBBPA (as an additive), 17 mg/kg for HBCD, 5500 mg/kg for bromine, and 1700 mg/kg for antimony. In comparison to data that have been calculated by SFA for Switzerland from literature for the 1990s, these measured concentrations in small size WEEE were 7 times higher for pentaBDE, unexpectedly about 50% lower for decaBDE, and agreed fairly well for TBBPA (as an additive) and octaBDE. Roughly 60% of the total bromine input determined by SFA based on X-ray fluorescence analysis of the output materials of the recycling plant cannot be assigned to the selected BFRs. This is an indication for the presence of other brominated substances as substitutes for PBDEs in electrical and electronic equipment. The presence of BFRs, in particular PBDEs in the low grams per kilogram concentration range, in the fine dust fraction recovered in the off-gas purification system of the recycling plant reveals a high potential for BFR emissions from WEEE management and point out the importance for environmentally sound recycling and disposal technologies for BFR-containing residues.
Article
There is an increasing interest in the end-of-life management of polymers present in waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). This is mainly due to high recycling and recovery quotas set by the European WEEE directive, which can only be fulfilled by including the plastic fraction in recycling and recovery approaches. Previous studies identified a high material diversity and various contaminants in WEEE plastics, including heavy metals, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), diphenyl ethers (PBDE), as well as polybrominated dibenzodioxins and dibenzofurans (PBDD/F). These substances are regulated by European directives that limit their levels in marketable products. Consequently, both material diversity and contaminants are strong arguments against material recycling and point to hazardous waste treatment. However, recent developments in the production of flame retardants and electrical and electronic goods aimed to reduce contaminants and material diversity. Thus, the present study summarises updated contaminant levels of plastic fractions of European WEEE, as well as data on materials in waste housing polymers. Material characterisation revealed housing fractions to be interesting sources for polymer recycling, which however has to implement potent material separation and/or bromine elimination techniques. With respect to contaminants, our data indicate an effective phase-out of PBB, but still high levels of PBDE and PBDD/F are found. Sources and implications for the material recycling and thermal recovery approaches are discussed in detail.
Plastics -A Material of Innovation for the Electrical and Electronic Industry
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