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27 Jul 2022

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The EU launches a project to increase the use of recycled plastic in IT equipment and other electronic devices

A circular economy in the field of IT equipment and other electronic devices is a priority for the European Union. A new research project called "Increace" will help combat the growing mountain of electronic waste with the support of the European Commission. A major objective is to increase the share of recycled plastics in new electrical and electronic equipment.

Fraunhofer Institute of Germany is leading the project that brings together researchers, recyclers (mechanical, chemical, solvent-based), product designers, material and component manufacturers, OEMs, and software developers to combine technologies and methodologies.

When it comes to recycling plastics, the electronics industry lags behind other sectors. Electronic products use just 2% of today's recycled plastic materials, compared to the building and construction sector (46%), packaging sector (24%), and agriculture sector (13%).

To increase recycling yield and efficiency, the project partners will develop data-driven sorting solutions to prevent potentially hazardous substances from entering the recycled plastics system and combine complementary recycling technologies (mechanical, chemical, and solvent-based). In order to ensure traceability of materials, the project will use blockchain technology. Also, Increace will examine the economic, regulatory, technological, and material implications of systematic changes in the plastic industry.

The Increace project is funded by the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HADEA). Philips Electronics, the Pezy Group, Plastica Skaza, the Belgian technology research institute VITO, and the software giant SAP are also partners in the project.

Photo credit: Nick Fewings

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