Online-Session  /  05. Dezember 2023, 16:00 - 17:00 CET

Recycled Plastics in Electronics: Challenges & Opportunities

#4th session of series »Materials for electronic innovations«

Today, waste generation of electrical and electronic equpiment (EEE) represents the fastest growing waste stream globally with a generation of 53.6 million metric tons (Mt) in 2019. Depending on the product group, EEE contain between 10 and 80 weight-% of high-tech plastics. However, the economic driver for WEEE recycling is based on recovering precious metals such as gold, silver or palladium and copper. Therefore, recycling rates of plastics from WEEE remains low. Moreover, the uptake of recycled polymers for electronics is a major challenge, since the material needs to fulfill specific technical requirements such as flameretardance. In consequence, the overall recycling rate of plastics in WEEE and reapplication is to date still very low.

Since 2014, Fraunhofer IZM is involved in various projects to increase circularity of plastics in electronics. In close collaboration with OEMs and various stakeholders along the value chain, Fraunhofer IZM developed design guidelines for and from recycling in the course of the PolyCE project. In the currently ongoing INCREACE project, several different technical challenges are tackled, to allow for increased uptake of plastics in added-value products. Thereby, a combination of innovative mechanical, chemical and solvent-based recycling technologies are explored to achieve critical to quality requirements of products while minimizing environmental impacts. To allow for a circular economy of plastics, regulatory, economic and societal barriers and drivers need to be targeted. This expert session will shed a light on the challenges and opportunities of recycled plastics for circular electronics and give an outlook on future developments.