Flame Retardants: Design for Environment and End-of-Life – is there a life after WEEE, RoHS and REACH?

By: Dr. Adrian Beard-Clariant GmbH

Flame retardants are a key element of the safety of many products of daily life and in the workplace environment. Many plastics, textiles and natural materials are quite flammable and burn well. In a number of application areas this fire risk has to be reduced by measures like the use of flame retardants – the E&E sector being one of the most prominent areas. However, there are concerns about the environmental and health properties of some flame retardants, in particular brominated systems. The European WEEE and RoHS directives have responded to these concerns and declared the phase out of PBBs (polybrominated biphenyls) and PBDEs (polybrominated diphenylethers) as well demanding the separation of plastics containing brominated flame retardants before further recycling operations. In expectance of these directives and the growing pressure on halogenated flame retardants, the flame retardants market has responded with an increasing demand for non-halogenated flame retardants. Phosphorus and nitrogen based as well as mineral flame retardants have experienced above average growth rates over the last years. Material recycling of flame retarded plastics is usually technically feasible – the major problem is how to obtain a continuous supply of input material which is well defined in its composition. Otherwise, only feedstock recycling or energy recovery are sensible options.

Download two pdf documents: Document 1 –  Document 2




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