Quality Assessment of Plastic Recyclates from Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE): A Case Study for Desktop Computers, Laptops, and Tablets

  • Florian WagnerEmail author
  • Jef Peeters
  • Jozefien De Keyzer
  • Joost Duflou
  • Wim Dewulf


Worldwide every year 41.8 billion tons of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) reaches the end-of-life with changing designs, product, and material compositions. In order to enable the recycling industry to adapt its processes to the evolutions in product design and material composition, it is crucial to assess these changes in waste streams. Therefore, a scheme is presented that helps to evaluate the quality of plastics in WEEE for mechanical recycling. Based on a case study for computer housings, laptop back covers, and tablet housings, the scheme is applied and discussed regarding their potential quality for a disassembly-based recycling process. For this assessment Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is used to determine the plastic types and degradation found in this waste stream. The discarded desktop computer and tablet housings consist of different plastics, such as ABS, PC/ABS, HIPS, and ABS/PMMA, whereas laptop housings are largely dominated by PC/ABS.


Plastic recycling Quality assessment Disassembly-based mechanical recycling 



Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene terpolymer


Fourier transform infrared


Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry


High-impact polystyrene


Melt flow index




Polymethyl methacrylate


Waste electrical and electronic equipment



The authors acknowledge the Flemish Environmental Technology Platform (MIP) and the Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) for funding this research. The authors would also like to acknowledge the partners in the Next Level Plastics Recycling project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Florian Wagner
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jef Peeters
    • 1
  • Jozefien De Keyzer
    • 2
  • Joost Duflou
    • 1
  • Wim Dewulf
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringKU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringKU LeuvenDiepenbeekBelgium

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