PolyCE March 2020 Newsletter

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Welcome to the PolyCE Project - Enabling recycling of plastics from electronic waste

PolyCE Newsletter – March 2020

Reflections and New Perspectives for a Circular 2020

Dear reader,

2020 promises to be a defining year for the environment, the future of humanity and all living beings on Earth. With ten years remaining until the deadline to fulfill the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, there are burning issues that must be addressed with urgent, strategic and decisive action. From climate change, to air pollution, biodiversity loss, rising economic inequalities and migration, to the growing shadow of plastic and electronic waste and related pollution.

At the end of last year, the European Commission delivered an ambitious European Green Deal proposal aimed at championing circular design of all products. The plan is to prioritise reducing and reusing materials before recycling them. It will foster new business models and set minimum requirements to prevent environmentally harmful products from being placed on the EU market. PolyCE welcomes and strongly commits to aid in achieving these ambitious goals.

The PolyCE project has already entered its half-term, and with many lessons learned and expertise gathered, the project consortium is ready to showcase how theory and research apply in practical terms.

• PolyCE partners have led numerous expert workshops in 2019 delivering solutions and spreading know-how on design for recycling of high-quality polymers and their reuse in new electronic applications.

• In October 2019 the project launched an ongoing public awareness-raising campaign calling consumers to invest in products containing recycled plastics and participate more actively in the Circular Economy.

• In 2020 PolyCE will deliver eight electronic product demonstrators containing recycled plastics to be eventually put on the market.

Continue reading to learn more about our most recent activities and accomplishments thus far.

More concrete initiatives involving all actors in the plastics value chain are in the books for 2020. Stay tuned!

We hope you enjoy reading our March 2020 Newsletter.

Thank you,

Your PolyCE Team

Support our mission to achieve circular plastics – complete our 10 minute consumer survey

[click here to complete survey]

The aim of the survey is to better understand European consumers’ attitudes towards the Circular Economy and post-consumer recycled plastics in the electrical/electronic industry. The survey will serve as a basis for PolyCE project’s consumer campaigns aiming to encourage circular consumption behaviors and to raise awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of recycled plastics in electronics. Responses are to be anonymised and to be used only for the research-purposes of the project. Results will be made public as part of a research study paper on the same topic.

PolyCE at the International Electronics Recycling Congress (IERC) in Salzburg


From 21st to 24th January 2020, the PolyCE team participated at the 19th International Electronics Recycling Congress IERC 2020 in Salzburg. On the first day of the IERC congress, the PolyCE team and 25 participants from research and industry came together for an interactive workshop to discuss the challenges and opportunities to WEEE plastics recycling. The main aim was to explain the complexity of recycling of WEEE plastics and show the potential of WEEE recycling optimization. Four working groups brainstormed around the presented approaches in the afternoon session. Jef Peeters and Alessia Accili discussed the optimization of WEEE clustering whereas Franziska Maisel showed the potential behind a standardized flake size for subsequent sorting processes. Günther Höggerl from MGG Polymers and I presented product development guidelines explaining how to design for recycling and use recycled plastics in new electric and electronic equipment.

[read more]

PolyCE Academy


On 10th of January 2020 more than 25 highly motivated students from different backgrounds, including environmental engineering, economic, technical and industrial design studies gathered at the Fraunhofer IZM in Berlin to attend the second PolyCE academy. During the 4-hour interactive workshop, the academy discussed the topic of circular plastics in relation to sustainability but also debated technical barriers and possibilities today. The workshop was rounded up by an interactive creative session where the students were faced with circular design challenges to come up with a truly sustainable product of the future.

Consumer campaign: Reducing, Reusing Europe’s 2.5 Million Tonnes of Plastic Components in Electronic Waste Each Year. #CHOOSERECYCLED


In October 2019 the PolyCE consortium launched a two-year campaign to raise awareness among consumers and manufacturers in order to change their attitudes towards recycled plastics and improve their market uptake. Of the more than 12 million tonnes of e-waste expected next year in Europe (EU, Norway and Switzerland), an estimated 2.5 million tonnes (23 percent) will be plastics. That’s the weight equivalent of 62,500 fully-loaded 40-tonne trucks — enough to form a line from Rome to Frankfurt — and 2.5 times the 1 million tonnes of plastic landfilled as e-waste components in the year 2000. #CHOOSERECYCLED

[read more]

[watch social experiment video]

[watch expert interviews]

PolyCE at the E-Waste World Conference and Expo, Frankfurt


On 14th and 15th November 2019 several PolyCE partners (TUB, MGG, Circular Devices, IZM, UNU) were present at the E-WASTE World Conference & Expo, an international conference and exhibition. The event brought together more than 80 globally renowned experts from consumer and industrial electronics manufacturers and suppliers, E-Waste recyclers and waste management companies, recycling technology manufacturers, materials recovery experts, sustainable material and chemical suppliers, science and academia, policy-makers, NGOs, research institutions and consultants. Results from the PolyCE project were presented within the Green & Sustainable Electronics Track by Anton Berwald from Fraunhofer IZM.

[read more]

PolyCE at Ecomondo, Rimini


In November 2018 the PolyCE project participated at the ECOMONDO fair in Rimini, Italy. ECOMONDO is the leading event in Europe for new models of circular economy, from the recovery of materials and energy to sustainable development. The 2019 was attended by 1,160 exhibitors, visitors from 130 countries and more than 675 million media representatives. In this fruitful environment, PolyCE showcased its achievments during the morning slot at the EASME booth, within the Plastics Management exhibition session.

[read more]

Roadblocks for the Circular Economy of WEEE Plastics: A Call for Informed Classification Practices


Classifying WEEE plastics as “hazardous waste” risks making EU recycling of WEEE plastics impossible. Most of the WEEE plastics are high value tech plastics and technology exists in the EU to produce REACH and RoHS compliant Post-Consumer Recycled plastics and ensure safe plastic recycling. A small proportion of these WEEE plastics is compounded with flame retardant substances. Only a limited number of these Flame Retardants are restricted as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

[read more]

PolyCE’s Workshop on Circular Design: Making a Business Case for Recycled Plastics


The Philips global Headquarter in Amsterdam was the scene of a technical Workshop called “Circular design of electrical and electronic equipment: The post-consumer recycled plastics challenge.” More than 40 participants, representing the entire electronics value chain in the EU, came together for an interactive workshop to discuss best practice examples for integrating Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) plastics produced from electronic waste back into aesthetically appealing applications and in products with high requirements on the material properties. In line with the European Commission’s Strategy for Plastics in the Circular Economy, PolyCE is set to enable inclusion of post-consumer recycled plastics into new electronic products and in doing so lead the way towards adoption of circular plastics on the mass consumer market.

[read more]

Illegal and Sub-Standard Plastic Waste Treatment: When Recycled Plastics May Be Harmful for Consumers — and Why Black Plastics Are Unjustly Blamed

Black plastics are commonly believed to represent a problem in Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling because, allegedly, they are “wrongly sorted” and end up in food-contact applications. However, we, the PolyCE consortium — a Horizon 2020 project whose expertise lies in the development of advanced recycling and recovery solutions for high quality post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics — propose arguments to counter such claims and offer expertise-based reasoning.

[read more]

PolyCE General Assembly

The PolyCE General Assembly took place in early November in Valencia, Spain. The gathering was hosted by ONA, and led by Fraunhofer Institute. The event brought together PolyCE project partners and was an opportunity to align on the progress achieved towards ongoing and planned tasks and related research. The event was a success: ambitious plans were made going forward and the agenda for the remaining half of the project has been set. The next General Assembly is planned for May 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Fraunhofer-Institut fuer Zuverlaessigkeit und Mikrointegration IZM, Gustav-Meyer-Allee 25, 13355 Berlin, Germany

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