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Editor in Chief: RAFFAELLO COSSU

HAZARDOUS PROPERTIES OF PLASTICISERS THAT MAY HINDER THE RECYCLING OF PLASTICS

  • Pierre Hennebert - SIT/TPEC Clan technologies and Circular Economy, INERIS, France

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Abstract

Plasticisers transform rigid polymers, especially PVC, into flexible and useful material, typically at 10-35% concentration. Four phthalate plasticizers are now banned in the EU (maximum concentration in products of 0.1%). Are other plasticisers, used in concentrations that make a product waste, unsafe? The hazardous properties of plasticisers used in the EU (Plastic Additives Initiative list) were collected from the ECHA registration site. Eight plasticizers (=12% of 69) are either skin sensitizers (2 substances) and under evaluation by ECHA (7 substances), with a potential ban at the end of the evaluation for persistence, bioaccumulation and toxicity (PBT), endocrine disruption (ED) and as substances of very high concern (SVHC). Seventeen (=25% of 69) are used at a concentration that makes the plastic hazardous when it becomes waste. The sorting and management options of these additivated plastics are discussed. The recycling of these hazardous wastes is not prohibited. In the short-term recycling phase in modern industrial plants, there is a low emission of these additives, which is controlled by occupational safety and environmental regulations. On the other hand, the long-term low-quality management such as littering (with weathering and fragmentation) and landfilling (with the emission of degradable products in case of phthalates) scatter these substances. The plastics containing “legacy” banned additives must be phased out. But the plastics with compounds at hazardous concentration should be recycled in controlled recycling loop. They should be managed by a risk approach, like the products they were and the new products that they will become.

Keywords


Editorial History

  • Received: 08 Jun 2022
  • Revised: 08 Oct 2022
  • Accepted: 03 Nov 2022
  • Available online: 20 Dec 2022

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