A European Commission-funded project supported by the United Nations is calling for consumers to demand electronic and electrical products made with recycled plastic in the wake of climate emergency, and for manufacturers to redesign products to both improve recyclability and integrate recycled plastics in new products.
The call is made by PolyCE (for Post-Consumer High-tech Recycled Polymers for a Circular Economy), a multinational consortium led by Fraunhofer IZM and consisting of universities (UN University, Bonn; University of Ghent, Belgium; Technical University Berlin; and University of Northampton, UK), civil society organisations (European Environmental Bureau), and numerous companies — including Philips and Whirlpool. The 20 partners who are taking initiative in launching the two-year campaign are based or operate in nine countries: Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, Finland, the USA, and the UK. According to the Nordic Council of Ministers, plastics account for about 20% of all materials in electronic and electrical equipment (EEE), most of it not designed for recovery and reuse.
The PolyCE consortium is launching a two-year campaign to raise awareness among consumers and manufacturers in order to change their attitudes towards recycled plastics and improve their market uptake. Says project partner Kim Ragaret, University of Gent: “Plastics are a valuable resource with a great potential for circularity. Plastics themselves aren’t the problem; our so-called plastics problems relate to attitudes towards the use of plastic and waste management.”
Plastics are essential for making many different components of electronic and electrical products and cannot be bought completely out of rotation, including phones, computers, TVs, vacuum cleaners, hairdryers, and household appliances.
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