A European project is looking at ways to boost the use of recycled plastic in electronics using blockchain for traceability.
Just 2% of today’s recycled plastic materials are used in electronics, compared to the building and construction sector (46%), the packaging sector (24%) and the agriculture sector (13%).
Using recycled plastic in electronics would correspond to around 80,000 tonnes of recycled materials in new designs, against an annual theoretical market potential of 2,100,000 tonnes in the EU.
While there have been some moves to using recycled materials in electronics with a mouse from Microsoft, there has been limited adoption of the materials:
- Plastics supplier aims for 60 percent recycled materials
- Microsoft and its recycled plastic mouse
- European deal for sustainable plastics
The INCREACE project, funded by the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA) of the European Commission under the Horizon Europe Cluster 4 programme, aims to increase the uptake of recycled plastics in electronics.
By using recycled plastics from electrical and electronic waste (WEEE), the INCREACE project will tackle areas where the use of recycled plastics is marginal today.
At the heart of the project, there are five business cases including challenging applications areas such as medical applications, ESD and UL94 flammability standards as well as plastics for electronic components.
The project, led by Fraunhofer IZM, will bring together researchers, recyclers (mechanical, chemical, solvent-based), product designers, material and component manufacturers, OEMs and software developers to combine technologies and methodologies from different disciplines along the entire value chain.
The project partners will develop new data-driven sorting solutions to prevent potentially hazardous substances to enter the recycled plastics system and combine complementary recycling technologies (mechanical, chemical and solvent based) to increase the overall recycling yield.
Traceability is essential so the project will rely on an innovative blockchain approach.
INCREACE will also analyse implications of systematic changes in the plastic industry from an economic, regulatory, technological and material perspective.
Other partners include Vlaamse instelling voor technologisch onderzoek (VITO), KU Leuven, the Pezy Group and Plastika Skaza as well as Philips Electronics Nederland.
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