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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

ISSN 2095-2201

ISSN 2095-221X(Online)

CN 10-1013/X

Postal Subscription Code 80-973

2018 Impact Factor: 3.883

Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.    2017, Vol. 11 Issue (5) : 13
Improvement potential of today’s WEEE recycling performance: The case of LCD TVs in Belgium
Paul Vanegas1,2(), Jef R. Peeters1, Dirk Cattrysse1, Wim Dewulf1, Joost R. Duflou1
1. KU Leuven, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Centre for Industrial Management, BE-3001 Leuven, Belgium
2. Faculty of Engineering, University of Cuenca, Cuenca, Azuay 010101, Ecuador
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A methodology to assess WEEE recycling performance is presented.

MFA and Economic and Environmental evaluations are performed for LCD TVs in Belgium.

Ferrous metals and aluminium have high recycling rates.

Recycling of precious metals and plastics can improve substantially.

Waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) constitutes one of the most relevant waste streams because of the quantity and presence of valuable materials. However, there is limited knowledge on the resource potential of urban mining WEEE, as data on material composition, and the efficiency of current recycling treatments are still scarce. In this article, an evaluation of the recycling performance at a national level for one of the fastest growing e-waste streams: LCD TVs is carried out through the following four steps. Firstly, material characterisation is performed by means of sampling of the waste stream. Secondly, a material flow analysis is conducted by evaluating the separation performance of a recycling plant in Belgium. Thirdly, the recovered economic value and avoided environmental impact (EI) of the analysed recycling system is assessed. Finally, the potential of urban mining for Belgium is forecasted. The analysis shows that while recycling performance for ferrous metals and aluminium are relatively high; there is substantial room to better close the material loops for precious metals (PM) and plastics. PMs and plastics account for 66 % of the economic value in LCD TVs and 57% of the EI. With the current, commonly applied recycling technology only one-third of the PM and housing plastics are recycled; meaning that for these materials, at a national level for Belgium, there is a potential for improvement that represents 3.3 million euros in 2016 and 6.8 million euros in 2025.

Keywords Recycling      Waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)      Material flow analysis      LCD TVs      Precious metals      Plastics     
Corresponding Authors: Paul Vanegas   
Issue Date: 10 November 2017
 Cite this article:   
Paul Vanegas,Jef R. Peeters,Dirk Cattrysse, et al. Improvement potential of today’s WEEE recycling performance: The case of LCD TVs in Belgium[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2017, 11(5): 13.
Fig.1  Layers of an LCD TV [29]
Fig.2  Schematic view of recycling processes analysed
Fig.3  Average material composition of 110 LCD TVs
Fig.4  Material input and distribution to end-processing
MaterialInput (kg) per 1 tonne of LCDsER (%)
Ferrous (Fe)35495
Aluminium (Al)7987
Housing Plastics20329
Internal Plastics1060
LCD Module1060
Tab.1  Effective mass based material recycling rate for LCD TVs
Fig.5  Total and recovered EI and value of LCD components
MaterialNetEG (mPt/kg)REG (mPt/kg)REI (mPt/kg)
Ferrous (Fe)267.633163.4
Aluminium (Al)9471100153
ABS+ PC529.755929.3
ABS+ PMMA557.2586.529.3
Ag156 007157 000993
Au13 742 10013 800 00057 900
Pd10 069 60010 100 00030 400
Tab.2  NetEG, REG and REI of materials
Fig.6  Valuable metals: Recycled with shredder based treatment vs Potential
Fig.7  Plastics: Recycled with shredder based treatment vs Potential
Fig.8  Plastics: Recycled with shredder based treatment vs Potential
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