Analysis of the practices and technologies used for the treatment of brominated plastics of WEEE in Guadalajara city, Mexico

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Mónica Jacqueline Hernandez-Jimenez
Ma. del Carmen Monterrubio-Badillo
Gabriel Pineda-Flores
Sandra Luz Álvarez-Pozos
Ignacio Elizalde-Martínez


The increase in waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) has become an attractive waste for the recycling industry, mainly due to the high volume found in the waste flow that can be transformed into other products. The purpose of this study is to investigate the treatments applied to WEEE brominated plastics in companies of recycling in the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara (MAG), Mexico, and the compa­rison with international guidelines. The information-gathering was obtained through interviews and visits; fourteen companies dedicated to the field of recovery, treatment and/or recycling of electronic waste were identified. Only seven companies allowed the study to be carried out, and only five companies provided plastics samples. Eighty-six samples of different kinds of plastics were obtained and analyzed using the Han­dheld X-ray fluorescence (HXRF) technique, and the atypical cases have undergone an analysis of X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS). Bromine was the predominant element in the samples analyzed, which sometimes exceeded the permissible limits of the European Directive 4 to 10 times, meaning that the concentration ranges go from 10000 to 39500 mg/kg. It was identified bromine as a chemical precursor of flame retardants, which is prohibited by international agreements because they cause damage to the environment and public health. As a result, the companies dedicated to the treatment and/or recycling of plastics from WEEE do not follow the practices and technologies used internationally. However, considering the circular economy, this is relevant to establish limits of traces of contaminants in recycled plastics.


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