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Waste Manag. 2019 Jul 1;94:165-171. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2018.06.018. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

Reduction of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in plastics from waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) by solvent extraction and the influence on their thermal decomposition.

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Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Department of Material Science and Engineering, Brinellvägen 23, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address:
The City College of the City Universities of New York (CUNY), Department of Mechanical Engineering, New York, NY, USA.
Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Department of Material Science and Engineering, Brinellvägen 23, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden.
Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Department of Chemical Engineering, Teknikringen 42, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden.


Consumption of electronics increases due to modern society's growing needs, which leads to increasing generation of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Recycling of WEEE has been a global concern during the last few decades because of the toxic compounds that are produced during recycling. Different recycling techniques have been adapted on a commercial scale in order to overcome this issue, but the recycling of WEEE still lacks the technology to treat different kinds of feedstocks and to maximise the recycling rates. Pyrolysis is an alternative that has not been commercialised yet. One of the challenges for the implementation of this technology is the toxic brominated organic compounds that can be found in the pyrolysis oils. In this study, tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), one of the major flame retardants, is reduced in three different WEEE fractions through solvent extraction as a treatment prior to pyrolysis. Two solvents have been experimentally investigated: isopropanol and toluene, the latter of which can be derived from pyrolysis oil. The results indicate that TBBPA was extracted during pre-treatment. Moreover, the total bromine content of WEEE material was reduced after the treatment with a maximum reduction of 36.5%. The pyrolysis experiments indicate that reduction of several brominated organic compounds was achieved in almost all the tested cases, and two brominated compounds (2,4,6-tribromophenol and 2,5-Dibromobenzo(b)thiophene) reached complete removal. Also, the thermal decomposition behaviour of the raw samples and the treated was investigated, showing that the reduction of TBBPA influences the decomposition by shifting the starting decomposition temperature.


BFRs; E-waste; Pyrolysis; Soxhlet; Tetrabromobisphenol A; WEEE

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