From 1 March 2021, the EU prohibited halogenated flame retardants in plastic enclosures and stands of electronic displays. Manufacturers of televisions, computer monitors or digital signage displays that supply the single EU market are affected by this directive. It’s a major legislative step towards electrical appliances becoming circular in design, writes UK-based bioplastics manufacture Floreon’s Technical Director, Andrew Gill, on the site of the company.
“Safety is also a factor. When an HFR plastic burns, the halogens release from the jacket into the breathing air, combined with water, and halogen produces an acid that is toxic to humans,” he continued.]
Today, flame retardant ABS is mainly landfilled rather than recycled due to these and other concerns about halogen contamination, yet the material is ubiquitous in the $29.6 billion E&E industry.
Since the ban took effect, Floreon has launched an alternative to flame retardant oil-based plastic. The company has developed and commercialise a halogen-free bioplastic, that can offer a safe and sustainable option for electrical goods. Derived from plants, is suitable for chemical and mechanical recycling and has an up to seven times lower carbon footprint than oil-based plastic, Floreon says.
Moreover, according to Shaun Chatterton, CEO of Floreon, an in-house consumer study found that 92% of UK adults are concerned about how much plastic is in their home appliances, so the development of the new flame retardant PLA is a pivotal point for the company.
“Not many bioplastic materials can offer the same high-performance level, options to recycle and a lower carbon footprint in direct comparison to flame retardant ABS plastics, and we are incredibly proud to be one of the first,” he said.
The product is now ready for commercial development.
Floreon’s patented PLA materials are suitable for durable and disposable applications, and the flame retardant grade - to UL94V2 - offers several options. The material has properties close to those of ABS, which makes it ideal for injection moulding, electronic toys, consumer electronics and home furnishings with the added benefit of a low carbon footprint and end of life options. The core focus, however, is on electronic brands that are focusing on circularity and renewable plastic sources.