University researchers are developing recycling solutions for plastic materials in waste electrical and electronic products.
The electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) sector – which produces anything from mobile phones and laptops through to washing machines and fridges – is one of the most resource-intensive industries around the globe.
While there are established systems in place for collecting, sorting and recycling scrap metal produced by the sector, the same cannot be said for scrap plastic.
The European Commission’s circular economy action plan aims to tackle the problem, with the aim of saving energy and the amount of resources used by the EEE sector, lowering carbon dioxide emissions and the amount of plastic waste produced.
The University of Northampton is one of 16 partners of the PolyCE project to design the logistics process required to solve the plastics waste problem.
Liam Fassam, who heads the university’s institute of logistics, infrastructure, supply, transport and travel, said a “systematic transformation is needed”.
“There needs to be collaboration between every player in the supply chain, including producers of plastics, equipment designers and manufacturers, dismantlers and recyclers,” he said.
Margaret Bates, CIWM president and the university’s professor of sustainable wastes management, has been appointed PolyCE’s innovation manager.
She said: “We are very excited to work with such a great consortium of international experts and pioneering companies.”