Plastics from e-waste

A project to recycle the black plastics from TV housings into new TV housings.

PDF icon Testing high-end reuse of engineering plastics from used electronic products (October 2003)

TV housings

In an effort to support the recycling of used electronic products in Minnesota and the region, the Recycling Market Development program developed a project designed to work within existing markets to develop demand for engineering plastics from used TV housings. Work on this project was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (U.S. EPA) Region 5 office.

The project had several specific objectives: support electronics product stewardship efforts, identify opportunities and barriers to closed-loop recycling of plastics from electronics, and determine how recycling of these plastics might reduce the production of greenhouse gases.

Project design

This project was designed to develop new, competitive, domestic demand for engineering plastics without government subsidies. In order to accomplish this goal, Minnesota, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the U.S. EPA collaborated with Sony Electronics and regional electronics demanufacturers (recyclers) to establish a recycling infrastructure. This involved identifying and selecting a plastics processor to collect post-consumer plastics from the recyclers and process the material into plastic pellets that meet necessary specifications for Sony's applications. The potential for greenhouse gas reduction resulting from using post-consumer plastics in place of virgin plastics was also evaluated.

Barriers and opportunities

The project did not active its ultimate objective: providing a scheduled supply of post-consumer FR-HIPS from electronics to Sony for manufacture into TV housings.

The report authors identify barriers to this objective and opportunities for the future. The report also includes recommendations; in particular, project participants are encouraged to continue to monitor the market and pursue similar programs in the future when opportunities present themselves. All of the barriers faced during the project have the potential to change, sometimes dramatically, which might make this project more viable at a later date.