Keywords: recycling, packaging, plastics, polymers, brominated WEEE, bromine, flame retardant, UV-Visible irradiation, debromination, debromination.

PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) and PBBs (polybrominated biphenyls) are among the molecules widely used in the past for the fireproofing of plastics in electrical and electronic equipment among others. The flagship waste treatment directive (2012/19/EU) requires the selective treatment of plastics loaded with Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs), after extraction from the non-brominated plastics stream. These plastics can therefore no longer be recycled, landfilled or exported without prior treatment to ensure the elimination of the targeted molecules.

At this time, separate treatment of certain brominated plastics remains extremely difficult for regulatory, technical and financial reasons. There is no environmentally friendly solution to recycle these BFR-laden plastics. No industrial process, to our knowledge, can be identified for the decontamination of brominated plastics. Thanks to the pooling of skills unique in the region from CREPIM, the University of Lille 1/CNRS, VKC/CENTEXBEL and MATERIANOVA, this project will make it possible to develop a technology, the principle of which has been patented by the first two partners, to provide concrete support and assistance to companies dealing with plastic waste containing BFRs.

In particular, the VALBREE consortium proposes to carry out a pilot demonstration of the breakthrough innovation based on the action of UV radiation. The operation of this prototype, already tested on several types of resins (ABS, PC and PP), will be finalised and its field of action will be extended beyond the BFR cases already studied.

Via a dedicated work module, the project operators will endeavour to adapt this technology to the needs and resources of the industrial companies in the INTERREG zone. Specific needs will be collected from cross-border SMEs in order to define the specifications for upstream treatment and the formulation needs for downstream decontaminated resins. The work resulting from the VALBREE project will provide a major breakthrough in the field of WEEE treatment. Indeed, this technology will enable industrialists in the cross-border region to treat any type of plastic containing BFRs at a reduced cost and to recover this previously lost deposit.