Objectives

The use of secondary raw material contributes to resource efficiency, to greenhouse gaz reduction and to the preservation of the environment. However, the potential of this secondary raw material is under exploited. In Europe, the flux of Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) is particularly preoccupying. Indeed, this flux grows times as fast, compared of the other waste fluxes, and presents main environmental issues if the WEEE are buried or burnt as they contain dangerous substances (RoHS).

The quantity of WEEE put on the market in 2008 was equal to 10. Millions of metric tons, with a growth rate estimated from 2,5% to 2,7% each year. To encourage a specific and efficient treatment of this waste flux in the European Community, the European Commission published two instructions:

- 2002/96/EC dealing about WEEE

- 2002/95/EC about restriction of dangerous substances (RoHS : Restriction of the use Of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment).

The first impose a minimum percentage of WEEE collection and valorisation. The second supervises the maximal concentration of the RoHS in the WEEE (heavy metals, Brominated flamme retardants). Globaly, the collection objective of 4 kg/persone/year has been easily achieved in nearly every member states of Europe. The estimated quantity of WEEE collected and treated among the states of the European Union (27 states) in 2005 is comprised between 25% pour the medium equipment and 40% for the bigger ones. It shows that an improvement can still be done. Analysis shows also that the returns of the equipment of less than 1 kg are really not numerous.

 

 

Nevertheless, the valorization objectives are clearly more complicated to achieve. The separation and the valorization of the metallic fraction only can’t permit systemically to reach the required 80 %. Indeed, this objective is achieved with more difficulty in some categories than in others. For instance, all the sates recognize that the small equipment of the category 2 are particularly difficult to reach. In order to reach the imposed rate, it has been recognize that an efficient sorting and also a effective valorization of the plastic fraction (essentially thermoplastics) is essential. The actual valorization process of the plastic fraction requires heavy investments and shows a lower profitability than the metal valorization. That is why the recycling of the plastic fraction has been clearly identified as a priority research field. The main point to obtain an efficient recycling is plastic sorting, since the only actual and economically profitable way is burning it (with or without energetic valorization).

To counterattack this environment problem, the objective of the WEEELIBS project is to demonstrate that it is possible to sort the plastic fraction of the WEEEE in an effective manner with the WEEELIBS Demonstrator and to achieve a matter valorization higher than the limits required by the European Commission and then to respect the law. The WEEELIBS Demonstrator is a combination of a machine built by IVEA and an identification protocole developed by the CRITT Matériaux Alsace during the PLASTILIBS project, funded by the ADEME organization.

                        

 

During WEEE treatment, dismantling is always required because :

(1)   The reuse of components is a priority.

(2)   The dismantling of dangerous component is essential.

(3)   It is ordinary to dismantle high added value components and materials (printed circuits, electric cables in order to simplify their recycling.

 

This project consists into building a demonstrator for plastic sorting during manual dismantling of WEEE taking into account the industrial issues and constraints. It will be proven that plastic coming from WEEE can be sorted into homogeneous fractions, respecting the DEEE and RoHS regulations, for recycling it in new useful raw plastic material in order to counter the growing problem of polymer supplying.