Increased use of recycled plastics in electronic products

Increasing the share of recycled plastics in new products is a central aspect of the European Strategy for Plastics, adopted by the European Commission in 2018 as a part of the first Circular Economy Action Plan (2015). One of the main goals of the Strategy is to ensure that by 2025 10 million tonnes of recycled plastics find their way into new products on the EU market, against less than 4 million tonnes in 2016. However, in 2018 only 9.4 million tonnes of plastics went to recycling facilities as input material. For this reason, the collection rate has to improve significantly and more collected material needs to reach recycling facilities instead of being incinerated or landfilled. Additionally, it is crucial to boost demand for recycled plastic, especially in added-value applications such as electrical and electronic equipment (EEE). Currently, recycled plastics are mainly used in construction (46%), packaging (24%) and agriculture (13%) - only 2% of recyclates currently end up in EEE. This corresponds to around 80,000 tons of recycled plastics in new electrical and electronic devices, with a theoretical market potential of around 2,100,000 tons per year in the EU.

The INCREACE project was funded by the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation program to tackle the above-mentioned issues. The diverse and interdisciplinary consortium develops innovative solutions along the entire plastics recycling value chain embedded in a systemic framework. With the use of recycled plastics mainly from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), the INCREACE project addresses areas in which the application of recycled plastic materials is still marginal today: The project focuses on five use cases which cover complex aspects in the EEE sector such as food contact, medical applications, electrostatic discharge (ESD) and UL94 flammability standards and high-tech plastic components. To holistically address the technical, socio-economic and legal challenges, INCREACE brings together key players from different sectors such as researchers, recyclers, product designers, manufacturers, software developers, and Extended Producer Responsibility experts. Technologies and methods from the different disciplines are combined to demonstrate that targeted measures along the entire value chain are an effective solution for using more post-consumer plastics in EEE.

Project partners

  • Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung – (Fraunhofer IZM Koordinator, Fraunhofer IVV Projektpartner)
  • Vlaamse instelling voor technologisch onderzoek (VITO)
  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - KU Leuven
  • Pezy Group
  • Plastika Skaza
  • Vorwerk Elektrowerke GmbH
  • Neste Oyj
  • Partners for Innovation
  • Mirec
  • Cabka Spain Sociedad Limitada
  • Universiteit Maastricht
  • SAP SE
  • EGEN
  • Philips Electronics Nederland
  • Erion Compliance Organization S.c. a r.l.
  • ETH Zürich
  • CloudSelling


Clarifying European terminology in plastics recycling - ScienceDirect

  • Title: Clarifying European terminology in plastics recycling
  • Authors: Kim Ragaert, Cloé Ragot, Kevin M. Van Geem, Sascha Kersten, Yoni Shiran, Steven De Meester
  • Journal: Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry

2023 Plate Proceedings - PLATE (

  • Title: Designing valuable GOODbyes: A review of state-of-the-art ‘Design for Divestment’ literature and its implementation in practice
  • Authors: Flora Poppelaars & Tim de Ruiter
  • Publisher: Aalto University publication series


Horizon Europe programme funded by European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA) of the European Commission


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grand agreement No 101058487.

Expert Session: Recycled Plastics in Electronics - Challenges & Opportunities

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The road to more recycled plastics in electronics products

How can the proportion of recyclates in high-quality electronic products be increased? In the EU project INCREACE (Increase the share of recycled plastics in added value products), a consortium led by Fraunhofer IZM is developing guidelines, prototypes, and solutions for the plastics industry to implement a sustainable circular economy.


Key Research Areas

Environmental assessment for electronic systems

Evaluation of the environmental performance of products requires detailed knowledge of the design, production and the product’s use. Only then is it possible to ensure that all relevant factors are taken into consideration.




Our core field of competence is the eco-design of new electronic products in information and communication technology or consumer electronics, lighting, industrial and automotive electronics, and sensor components. We take into account the entire lifecycle of a product from the raw materials, through the production of the components and the assembly, marketing and use phases to recycling and disposal.



Circular Design Lab

We combine human-centred design and life-cycle thinking with newest insights from applied research to develop sustainable technologies and products, as well as business, service and ecosystem solutions. ​



Closing loops in the circular economy

There are a massive amount of electronic devices going onto the market today. Nearly 60 million televisions were sold in Europe last year alone. Sooner or later these devices will return as electronics waste. In the past years, the recycling industry has developed to recover many metals such as ferrometals, copper, aluminum, precious metals, along with some selected plastics from these devices, but currently ignores many other important materials.



Bio-derived Plastics for Electronics (Bio X)

In the projects Bio Pro and Bio Fun the focus was on the bio-derived polyhydroxyalkanoates PHA or PHB, which are produced from glycerine, a by-product of the production of biodiesel from rape seed. In the course of the Bio Pro project a method was developed for the production of PHB.