Report: Recycling of flame-retarded plastics from waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE)
Shredder residues produced in plants processing waste electric and electronic equipment are excluded from material recycling due to a variety of polymeric materials and the presence of brominated flame retardants (BFR), which might contain banned polybrominated diphenyl ethers or toxic polybrominated dioxins and furans (PBDD/F). Herein we present a technological approach to transfer a significant portion of the shredder residue into recycled polymers. The technological approach consists of a density-based enrichment of styrenics, which are subjected to a solvolysis process (CreaSolv® process) in a second stage. This stage allows the elimination of non-target polymers and extraction of BFR and PBDD/F. Pilot processing of 11.5 and 50 kg shredder residues indicated a material yield of about 50% in the density stage and 70-80% in the CreaSolv® process, and an effective removal of BFR additives. The recycled products were proved to comply with threshold values defined by the European directive on the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS) and the German Chemikalienverbotsverordnung. Mechanical material properties exhibited high tensile and flexural modules as well as slight impact strength, which qualify the products for applications in new electronic equipment.