Plastics Use in Consumer Electronic Equipment: Perspectives From Product Design to Material Recovery

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Plastics are widely used in electronic applications because of their unique functional, aesthetic, and cost performance attributes. The broad range of plastics used in electronics, however, presents some unique challenges when trying to recycle end-of-life electronic equipment. This paper discusses what recent research by the American Plastics Council has found about the types and amounts of plastics that are available in electronics, particularly those recovered from the residential sector. It also puts information on plastics into context with broader research conducted by the U.S. EPA on electronics recovery. Finally, the paper discusses some of the other public/private recycling initiatives that are currently underway. These efforts, when taken together, should help expand knowledge about the opportunities and challenges facing key players in the electronics recycling industry, from collectors and demanufacturers to recyclers and end-users.

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