Material Hygiene : An EcoDesign mindset for recycling of products
Abstract: In recent years the end-of-life phase has come into focus. European Union directives have been issued regulating certain product groups and producer responsibility. Vehicles and electronic products are the first to be identified and targeted. EU environmental legislation acts as a driver for increased reuse, recycling and recovery. The overall aim of the presented activities has been to increase the effectiveness of current recycling practices, both in terms of design changes and end-of-life treatment process suggestions. A “pre-step” operation has been suggested, in order to either salvage valuable (or toxic) material or to remove diluting bulk material. As this thesis is focused on the recycling of white-goods specifically dishwashers the suggested prestep would be removal of valuable copper prior to shredding. A life cycle assessment (LCA) study has been conducted. The purpose of this study was to determine if using a pre-step is beneficial from an environmental point of view or not. Furthermore, an experiment on the usability of recycled polymers from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has been performed. Based on this work polymer recycling process suggestions are presented. Based on research in the fields of design for recycling, design for disassembly and EcoDesign the material hygiene (MH) concept of design for recycling is formulated. This concept is tested on a disassembly field study carried out at a waste collection facility and a polymer recycling experiment at a refrigerator fragmentation plant. Five MH factors are suggested: MH Mix, MH Identification, MH Resources, and MH Weight and MH Map. Additionally, a MH mind-set is presented.
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