Plastics - research and development Material recycling: Making plastic products sustainable

Author / Editor: Linda Kuhn / Barbara Schulz

Germany – Recycling is becoming ever more important in production. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF now investigate how halogen-free flame-retardant plastics can be recycled. This project should also produce results that enable SMEs to cut down costs.

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With their new research project, Fraunhofer Institute LBF aims to improve the recycling of halogen-free flame-retardant plastics.
With their new research project, Fraunhofer Institute LBF aims to improve the recycling of halogen-free flame-retardant plastics.
(Fraunhofer-Institut LBF)

There is an ever increasing demand for recycling plastics to a greater extent. The EU plans to improve both the quality and the rate of plastic waste recycling, with a target recycling quota of 70% by 2020.

This also applies to flame retardant plastics, which are increasingly equipped with halogen-free flame retardants. Flame retardants are used to prevent ignition for a certain time or to delay the spread of fire. So far, there is only little data about the recycling of these plastics, despite the fact that with an estimated value of €3bn, they are an important factor on the European market, particularly in the electrical and electronics, construction and transportation industries. The results of the LBF research project are therefore significant for manufacturers of polymers, flame retardants and additives, compounders, masterbatch manufacturers, producers of plastic parts and recycling companies as well as consulting firms.

In light of the above, the Fraunhofer Institute LBF has initiated a new research project to investigate the recycling of halogen-free flame retardant plastics for their polymer technology field. This project should also produce results that enable in particular small- and medium-sized businesses to cut down costs and produce higher quality products with a high safety standard. In Europe, about 70% of flame retardants are so called halogen free PIN-flame retardants, which are manufactured on the basis of phosphorus (P), inorganic substances (I) and nitrogen (N), instead of halogens like bromine or chlorine. Their share will further increase, as they meet user demand to have materials with are sustainable and cost-efficient and provide reliable fire protection in the end application.

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