3M: Recycling-compatible Film 8000 -

Things are getting serious for electric shavers, computers and other electrical and electronic goods: by 13th August 2005 a new European directive will be in place which will allow consumers to return goods to manufacturers for disposal free of charge.

This means that manufacturers will be responsible for the disposal of their own products. Unfortunately, problems arise because each product contains several different materials including the label, which can be made from a variety of materials, and attached to the plastic casing of products. Even small amounts of label material can contaminate the recycled plastic to such an extent that the recycled material cannot be considered for making into new casings.

More than ten years ago, three companies developed a solution to this problem which is highlighted by the new European directive. Wincor Nixdorf, a supplier of products and services to banking and retail branches, the plastics manufacturer Bayer and the multi-technology company 3M based in Neuss, Germany, developed a new label material that can be used on most modern plastics without any problems and recycled easily along with the plastics casings.

This unique material is the 3M Recycling-compatible Foil 8000. Its properties and effectiveness have been confirmed not only by Bayer but also by BASF and the German Institute for Plastics and Recycling (FkuR) based in Willich.
This flexible, durable and printable product has been in use at Wincor Nixdorf for the past six years. It is compatible with all materials currently used in casing such as polycarbonate (PC), polystyrene (PS), ABS, ABS-PC compounds as well as high-impact polystyrene and can help reduce the costs of recycling these materials by up to 30%. Even though this film is slightly more expensive than conventional materials, it minimises the costs for manufacturers as there is no longer a need to remove the labels. At the end of the day, it costs one tenth of the cost incurred using traditional materials.

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