Results

Expected results

This project will generate different results: some will be directly linked to the technical innovations, others related to environmental and process innovation.

The main results of the project will be the construction of the WEEELIBS demonstrator, with an estimated sorting capacity of 500 metric tons/ operator / year. This demonstrator will be built based on the actual equipment of IVEA. It will be completed by a specific module dedicated to the polymer analysis and will integrate the whole knowledge gathered during the WEEELIBS project (ergonomy, security, data treatment, software,…).

It will be proven, in real industrial conditions, that it is possible to sort the different polymers we can find in WEEE like : PE (polyethylene), PP (polypropylene), PC (polycarbonate), PS (polystyrene), ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene), PBT (polybutylene terephtalate), PET (polyethylene terephtalate), PVC (polychlorure de vinyle) and POM (polyoxymethylene).

These polymers are frequently used with additives (charges). It leads to different grades of polymers depending on the presence or not of charges and their nature. It can also be useful to sort these different grades for a better and more efficient recycling of the plastics. These charges are most often mineral (like carbon, calcium or silica). These charges can be identified by the finding of Ca, Ti, Ba, Si and/or Mg atoms. The WEEELIBS demonstrator will show that it is possible to sort the different grades of plastics depending of their charges.

Eventually, the WEEELIBS demonstrator will be able to detect the RoHS substance (Pb, Hg, Cd, Cr(VI) and brominated flamme retardants). The plastics containing these substances will be identified and separated in order to be correctly treated. The extraction of the RoHS containing plastics is now an obligation with the European DEEE norm (2012/19/UE).

The test will be realized during a full week, on 4 different sites and will permit to obtain data about the new sorting process (volume, speed, efficiency, environmental impact,…). The data will deal about the waste flux and first the quantity which could be sorted. For instance, for the WEEE treatment site of the screen of Envie 2 E Lorraine, we planned a sort of 50 tons of WEEE with an extraction of 10 tons of plastics finely sorted. By extrapolation, the four planned tests will lead to 200 tons of WEEE Waste treated and about 40 tons of sorted plastics ready for recycling and reuse.

 

 

 

 

More precise data will also be gathered concerning the plastic fraction: number of different fraction which can be isolated, the amount of plastics containing RoHS substance, the recycling rate (amount of plastics which can be reuse).

Data dealing with the process itself will be collected to improve the “After LIFE+ communication plan” of the WEEELIBS project targeting the WEEE industrials.

An evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of this new process will be done including the eventual extra costs of labour and added value of the sorted polymers.

From a socio-economical point of view, the results of the project cannot be evaluated precisely. Indeed, the project is a test so no hiring will be done. It will be estimated in a following step: during the pre-industrialization phase.

However, the prospects are promising: the WEEEELIBS sorting machine will let the development of WEEE SMEs. Indeed, this industry is based on a network of small SMEs across Europe. In France for instance, 67% in weight of WEEE are collected inside a circle of 50km. Other industries (customs) can also use the developed technology for the WEEELIBS project. This project will also develop the activity of IVEA and the CRITT Matériaux Alsace.

The environmental prospects are also promising: the affordable technology will sort the plastics for recycling. The matter revalorization is the only way to save oil and to impact in a favorable manner the climate (compared to the chemical recycling and energetic revalorization). It will also reduce the CO2emission linked to the transportation of the WEEE (in France in 2007, on more of one million metric tons of WEEE plastics collected, 700 kt were exported abroad, where there is a legal gap in terms of plastic burning).

If this technology were adopted by each WEEE company in Europe, 300 kt/year of plastics could be recycled (data based on Weeeforum, 2008).

 

 

Obtained Results

 

Afeter counter-validation of the tests campaign of the last version of the demonstrator, here are the results obtained:

-85 % of good identificationamong 10 families of plastics (ABS & PS regrouped, PP & PE regrouped)

-100 % of correct identification of PVC

-100 % of correct identification of PC

-100 % of correct identification PP (« exotic" color excepted)

 

This result can be improved by targeting the flux of a particular WEEE treatment site : on demand.

In terms of employment et and positive fall out, this project has generated 2 direct jobs among the 2 companies of the Weeelibs project. The innovations generated during the projectare already used (especially the software) and integrated in machine sold on the market of the WEEE field.