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Would the setting-up of reference values to support the calculation of recyclability rates help improving the material efficiency of electronic products?

: Chancerel, Perrine; Marwede, Max; Mathieux, Fabrice; Talens Peiró, Laura


Fraunhofer-Institut für Zuverlässigkeit und Mikrointegration -IZM-, Berlin; Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -IEEE-:
International Congress Electronics Goes Green 2016+, EGG 2016. Proceedings : Inventing shades of green; September 7-9, 2016, Berlin, Germany; Proceedings
Piscataway, NJ: IEEE, 2016
ISBN: 978-3-00-053763-9
ISBN: 978-1-5090-5208-0 (Print)
6 pp.
International Congress Electronics Goes Green 2016+ (EGG) <2016, Berlin>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IZM ()

The "Feasibility study for setting-up reference values to support the calculation of recyclability/recoverability rates of electr(on)ic products" commissioned by the Joint Research Centre is embedded in the activities of the European Commission targeting the improvement of the resource efficiency by promoting the recyclability of products. The objectives of the study are to define key harmonized methodological aspects to develop reference values on recycling and recovery rates of materials and components for electr(on)ic products to calculate recyclability and recoverability rates of products, and to assess the benefits and limitations associated to the development of such reference values. To quantify the recycling and recovery rates of materials and components, three main options are possible and combinable: (1) use data on RRR compiled to comply with the reporting requirements of the WEEE directive for WEEE input flows and combined with analyses of the input composition, (2) conduct, e.g. in the frame of research projects or certification processes, additional batch analyses at treatment operators, and (3) model the processes with simulation tools. In this study, the focus was set on option 1. The frame set by the European Waste Framework Directive and the Cenelec EN and TS 50625 standards served as a methodological basis to define the requirements on the data. The data collected through batch analyses in WEEE treatment facilities, compiled using the software WF-RepTool, checked and validated, was linked with data on the WEEE input flow to determine material-specific recycling and recovery rates. To calculate recyclability and recoverability rates of products, the material-specific rates are combined with the bill of materials of the product. The methodology was tested on two case studies chosen for their relevance for ecodesign requirements: washing machines and laptops. The development of the reference values using a harmonized scope of the calculation and harmonized methods would provide common data reflecting the economically running treatment processes used by WEEE treatment operators for calculating recyclability and recoverability rates of products. The calculated recyclability and recoverability rates of products can be used as one of the indicators of the material efficiency of a product, and integrated into further environmental assessments. The proposed method for the production of the reference values relies on the cooperation with stakeholders, for instance operators of treatment facilities and WEEE compliance schemes. The method provides new opportunities to link product design and recycling, as well as to enhance the dialogue between the stakeholders.