Electronic components to re-use polycarbonate

October 11, 2019 // By Julien Happich
Closing the carbon loop with recycled raw materials is a core element in the development of a circular economy. Polymer provider Covestro has developed a new concept for post-consumer recycled (PCR) polycarbonate waste and its use in the electronics industries.

The market drivers for material recycling are the UN Sustainability Development Targets (UN SDGs), in particular target Number 11 for sustainable cities and settlements and Number 12 for sustainable consumption and production. But industry-specific standards in the electronics industry, such as eco-labels like the Blue Angel and the EPEAT electronics eco-label, CSR initiatives by companies and, last but not least, growing consumer interest in more sustainable products are also driving the development of recycling solutions.

As an example, the closed material cycle starts with the production of new, transparent polycarbonate at Covestro and its supply to a manufacturer of 5-gallon water bottles. This customer delivers the bottles to a water producer, which then provides the filled containers to consumers. They can be reused for up to approximately 50 times. At the end-of-life, they are being returned to the bottle manufacturer via the water producer through the same value chain. Then the bottles are shredded, cleaned and sorted. After that, the quality of the post-consumer recyclate is checked and polycarbonate granulates produced. This recycled granulate is processed by Covestro – to form a polycarbonate blend which is used by OEMs to produce new laptops, copiers, printers, mobile chargers for smartphones and other electronic devices.

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