Recycling of WEEE plastics: a review

  • Alfons BuekensEmail author
  • Jie Yang
SPECIAL FEATURE: REVIEW Chemical Feedstock Recycling 10


Electric and electronic equipment (EEE) is swiftly growing in volume, level of sophistication, and diversity. Also, it evolves briskly, moved by innovation and technical change, and draws on numerous and at times rare resources. Waste EEE (WEEE) has evolved into an important societal problem. Recycling and treating WEEE implies occupational as well as environmental hazards that are still incompletely documented. Still, second hand EEE has been exported and treated in Africa, China, and India in a precarious informal context. In developed countries, EEE recycling has been sustained by a wide range of initiatives and motives, such as sustainability, creating jobs, and the value of precious or rare metals. Current EU Directives require a steep reduction of WEEE plastics (WEEP) going to landfill. Mechanical, thermal, and feedstock recycling of WEEP are analysed and some options confronted. Plastics recycling should be weighed against the eventual risks related to their hazardous ingredients, mainly legacy brominated fire retardants and heavy metals. Another paper is related to a somewhat similar problem, yet involving a different mix of plastics: recycling plastics from automotive shredder residue.


Brominated fire retardants e-waste Electronic scrap Heavy metals Plastics recycling Waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) WEEE plastics (WEEP) 



The authors thank the following persons for improving this paper by constructive comments or additional information: Dr. Chantal Block (K.U.L.), Prof. Christer Forsgren (Chalmers University; Stena Metall), Dr. Louis Jetten (DPI Value Centre), Prof. Takashi Nakamura (Tohoku Univ.), Mr. Peter Sabbe (Recupel), Dr. Philippe Salémis (Cefic), Dr. Arjen Sevenster (VinylPlus); Mr. Luc Waignien (Galloo); Prof. Toshiaki Yoshioka (Tohoku Univ.).


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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Clean Energy UtilizationZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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