A Horizon 2020 project running from 2016 - 2020 looking at innovative ways to reduce the impact of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) by encouraging the adoption of new, circular business models, and also by increasing the incorporation of recycled plastics. The project team consists of 20 world leading academic and industry partners.
The global economy needs an immediate shift towards a circular economy model for plastic waste. It requires a systematic transformation that involves all actors in the value chain and encompasses the entire lifecycle of plastic materials. Although there are individual efforts to improve the collection and recycling of plastics in electronic waste (e-waste) the plastics value chain is still too fragmented, and recycled plastics are still perceived as unattractive to the end-user. For reference, the European Commission estimates e-waste to be one of the fastest growing waste streams in the EU, expected to grow to more than 12 million tonnes by 2020.
PolyCE (or Post-Consumer High-tech Recycled Polymers for a Circular Economy), a European Commission funded project consisting of a consortium of 20 expert organisations, has taken on the challenge of addressing this problem.
The University of Northampton led on Work Package 1: CIRCULAR MODELS OF PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION FOR HIGH RESOURCE EFFICIENCY
'The main goal of WP1 is to identify, assess and test business models towards circular economy and their impacts along the whole value chain. The specific objectives are:
Demonstrate the feasibility of a circular model for the plastics supply and value chain.
Characterise current CE business models and determine the impacts, drivers and limitations in the electronics sector and determine metrics / measurement
Investigate the point of view of the end-users regarding barriers and drivers for the implementation of innovative circular business models
Assess current business models of production of plastics for the electronics sector
Determine how innovative design of processes, components, products, services and quality protocols can be tailored to increase product circularity
Derive business models for dematerialisation and consumption (for testing in WP3) and assess opportunities for integration with existing systems.
Determine opportunities for industrial symbiosis between different electronic equipment value chains and sectors increasing circularity.