ICL Group, a BSEF member, talk about the recycling of products containing substances of very high concern - Let's talk bromine
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ICL Group, a BSEF member, talk about the recycling of products containing substances of very high concern

ICL Group, a BSEF member and global leader in specialty minerals gave a presentation at the Going Green CARE INNOVATION 2023 conference in Vienna from 8 to 11 May.

Bringing together leading international experts on environmental design, circular economy and resource efficiency among others, the event served as an important platform for discussions on how innovative industries active in the electric and electronic & automotive sectors can tackle environmental and social challenges.

A highlight of the conference was the presentation given by Lein Tange, Director of Sustainability at ICL Group, and Martin Schlummer, Business Unit Manager – Recycling and Environment at the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging (Fraunhofer IVV), which addressed the challenges and opportunities in using innovative technologies for recycling plastics that contain flame retardants. Flame retardants play a crucial role in preventing fires and, consequently, in reducing CO2 emissions.

As Martin explained, in today’s circular economy, material recycling is the preferred option as it has the lowest carbon footprint. However, due to REACH (Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) and other European Union legislations, more than 200 substances of very high concern (SVHCs) are present in these plastics, making traditional recycling processes challenging.

That’s when the CreaSolv® Process comes into play. Developed by CreaCycle, a Start-up offering special formulations for dissolving and recycling of plastics, and Fraunhofer Institute IVV, the process is an innovative solution that makes the recycling of products containing restricted substances possible. This process also helps remove all additives including brominated flame retardants contained in plastics used in waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), such as styrenics (lightweight and durable polymers used in a variety of applications, i.e. yoghurt pots, cream jars, coffee machines and car bumpers). The polystyrene value chain has already built a demonstration plant (3300 mtons/y) in 2021 for recycling waste polystyrene containing hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), a brominated flame retardant used in polystyrene insulation foam production. The process also made it possible to recover bromine.

This innovative process represents a promising opportunity when applied to WEEE plastics, and will be used as a starting point for future demonstration plants to further prove its technical and economic feasibility.

Overall, the presentation was a great success, and we can’t wait to take part in the next edition of the Going Green CARE INNOVATION.

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