Josef Tapper, CEO of Recipo talks about becoming the circularity partner for the electronics industry by working with plastics. In the interview Josef highlights how a Producer Responsibility Organization for electronics decided to close the loop for plastic from electronic products by becoming the first in the world to open its own Plastic Recycling plant.

This case is part of the Circular Electronics Day 2021 best practices series. Multiple organizations stand behind this initiative that takes place on January 24 with the aim to encourage organizations and consumers to take a more responsible approach to electronics.

What does a circularity partner like Recipo do?

Short version; a circularity partner manages an electronics manufacturer’s products in our end-of-life; from collection, sorting, recycling to manufacturing of plastic pellets from recycled materials.

Through our subsidiary “Recipo Material”, we sort and recycle plastic waste from electronics and manufacture high grade recycled plastic pellets, for electronics manufacturers of new electronic equipment. Our recycling system helps the electronics industry to become more circular.

By administering and managing the process for extended producer responsibility for electronics and batteries on behalf of our customers, we are also a national collection system across Sweden, Norway and Denmark. With control of our customers’ electronic waste streams, Recipo ensures a steady supply and management of materials for recycling.

Why did Recipo decide to open a recycling facility for plastics?

We saw a need to address the elephant in the room. Plastic was not being taken care of in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner. Recipo wanted to move away from energy recovery and move up the chain of waste to a more sustainable approach: material recycling of the plastic. However, the techniques used and the competences to recycle plastics containing flame retardants and other additives, as well as to produce a high-quality material suitable to be recirculated was not widespread. Recipo decided to make an investment and through our brilliant engineers, Recipo Material developed an unique method for separating the various materials. We are currently producing four types of high-quality polymers; ABS, PS, ABS/PC and PMMA, which is being used in the production of flat screen TVs.

Our vision of a sustainable society where electronics do not become waste but are recirculated to become new products is achievable. However, our industry needs more companies setting ambitious but achievable sustainability goals.

To ensure a steady supply of recycled plastic, producers and recyclers need to work closer together. Long-term partnerships and sustainably designed products will create the needed supply to meet the growing demand for recycled plastic materials.