The Netherlands Environment and Public Health Agency has called for “room for manoeuvre” in EU chemicals policy to facilitate recycling. The report notes that “One of the problems of recycling is that the materials may contain substances that pose a risk to man and the environment” and this must be weighed against advantages of recycling such as CO2 savings.
The report notes that a process exists to re-dissolve EPS and remove the HBCD. The report refers to the Solvolyse process, noting issues with achieving the low levels of HBCD in the recycled polystyrene required by chemical regulation. Editor’s note: this process, now CreaSolve®, has been improved to achieve well below 100 ppm HBCD (the EU POP regulation limit). The report recommends a risk assessment approach to define whether higher contaminant limits should be authorised for some recycled products, in order to enable the circular economy.
“Plastics that contain hazardous substances: recycle or incinerate?” RIVM Letter, report 2016-0025, M.P.M. Janssen et al. 2016