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Separating WEEE waste is the way forward

Separating and treating Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) polymers containing brominated flame retardants (BFRs) is likely to be more commercially and environmentally beneficial than incineration.

These were the findings of Axion Recycling in a report commissioned by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

With the WEEE directive implementation in the UK due in June 2006, the research is being carried out with the aim of closing the loop on recycling WEEE polymers.

The investigation found that the potentially hazardous BFR-containing polymers could be identified using relatively low cost, fast-acting hand-held instruments.

Also, separation of polymers should be commercially viable for items over 0.5kg with X-ray based chip sorting a viable technique for bulk separation.

WRAP material sector manager for plastics Paul Davidson said: "This report is a product of some highly significant progress in the field of WEEE plastic recycling, but also could have wider implications for solvent based plastic recycling processing in general."

The latest report is part two of a four-phase project, aimed at removing the potentially hazardous BFR compounds from the recycling chain.

Stage three will evaluate in more detail the viability of solvent-based BFR removal techniques.

Tests have found Creaslov and Centrevap to offer the best commercial and environmental potential.

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