Thursday, 11 of July 2019
In a recent blog post, the coalition of European NGOs Cool Products has stated that Halogenated Flame Retardants “present danger during the use stage and hamper cost effective recycling”. No evidence is put forward for such a sweeping statement.
Contrary to the opinion voiced in the blog post where a proposed ban on HFRs is described as “major progress”, exclusion of an entire class of chemicals is a backward step in terms of science-based regulation and innovation for the circular economy.
With regard to WEEE plastics recycling specifically, plastics containing brominated flame retardants (BFRs) make up only 5% of the total amount of WEEE plastics that are recovered for recycling (EERA, 2018). WEEE recyclers must contend with many challenges when it comes to plastics – variety of polymer types, presence of additives and stabilisers (including flame retardants – all chemistries). To single out HFRs is to ignore the “elephant in the room”: the EU does not recycle enough WEEE plastic waste.
The chemical industry is an integral player in the work towards realising a European circular economy. Plastics containing additives (incl. flame retardants) can and should be recycled to produce new material.
The role of the chemical sector in creating and implementing a European circular economy is acknowledged and supported by the EU’s research funding. Several ongoing EU Horizon 2020 projects, totalling investment of approximately €20M, specifically seek to facilitate WEEE recycling of all plastics containing flame retardant. As an organisation that works to ensure that ecodesign and energy labelling truly works for Europeans and the environment, we hope that Cool Products can appreciate the benefits that flame retardants and the bromine industry bring to consumers and the environment in terms of fire safety and their circular economy efforts respectively.
 PS Loop; Close WEEE, Plast2BCLEAN and CREATOR.
BSEF – the International Bromine Council, is the global representative body for bromine producers and producers of bromine technologies. Originally founded in 1997, BSEF works to foster knowledge on the societal benefits of bromine and its applications. The members of BSEF are Albemarle Corporation, ICL Industrial Products, Lanxess and Tosoh.
Further information: Visit www.bsef.org to learn more and follow BSEF on Twitter @BromineInfo for the latest news and information.
Dr Kevin Bradley
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