Post-Consumer High-tech Recycled Polymers for a Circular Economy (PolyCE)

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    Project Manager :
    Ruediger Kuehr

    The Post-Consumer High-tech Recycled Polymers for a Circular Economy (PolyCE) project’s main objective is to overcome obstacles to the closed-loop recycling of plastics from electronics and appliances.

    Although there are individual efforts to improve the collection and recycling of WEEE plastics, the plastics value chain is still too fragmented and WEEE recycled plastics seem to be an unattractive material for the end-user. To shift towards circular economy, a systematic transformation is required that involves all actors in the value chain and encompasses the entire lifecycle of plastic materials. PolyCE has taken on the challenge of addressing this problem.

    PolyCE is undertaking various activities to strengthen the recovery of plastics from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Through significantly reducing the use of virgin plastics and enhancing the use of recycled plastics in new electronics applications, PolyCE will:

    · Demonstrate the feasibility of a circular model for the plastics supply and value chain.

    · Develop a grading system for recycled plastics, which will ultimately serve to provide guidelines for designing new electronic products.

    · Involve green public procurement initiatives and consumer awareness raising campaigns across the EU (with a focus on Germany, Poland, Italy, and France).

    · Establish a feedback loop from research activities that provides policy input regarding technical feasibilities and conflicts from a technical perspective.

    Several industry partners have begun to use the recycled materials in their products and are giving more leverage to the project’s goals. This includes designers from the Pezy Group, the developer of the Puzzlephone, Ona, Philips, and Whirlpool as project partners.

    To scale up the project, PolyCE will support European Union-wide awareness campaigns and work to involve cities and their procurement initiatives.

    Participating in the project are 20 government, non-profit, and for-profit organisations from nearly a dozen countries. Coordinated by the German research institute Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft,