The EPA held the Symposium on Innovation, Research and Development in Recyclable Technologies on 24 June 2019. The themes of this year’s symposium were Environmental Design and Renewable Resources, and participants presented numerous breakthroughs from the past three years (2016-2018).
The EPA stated that its research plans over the past three years produced 29 academic papers and applications for nine special projects. With this year’s symposium, the EPA sought to bring industry and academia together and facilitate cooperation between the two, providing an opportunity to open the market to developed products. The ultimate aim is to have both industry and academia make strides toward a resources cycling society. This year’s symposium presented innovative research and development projects, including rudimentary research and development, producing high-value reused materials, and the commodification of technological products. Smart innovations are expected to provide breakthroughs in terms of existing recycling and disposal techniques used and promote diverse and innovative techniques for reusing waste resources.
Transforming old ideas of economic development to promote a circular economy is a key strategy of the government, and to this end Taiwan is implementing the “4-in-1 Recycling Program” which emphasizes Extended Producer Responsibility. The program sets up a legal framework for recycling and provides economic incentives for forming a circular use of resources. Aside from waste reduction and proper recycling and treatment of waste, the program aims to improve reuse technology and increase the value of reused materials and products, allowing for resources to remain within Taiwan for future reuse.
This year’s symposium featured a number of presentations demonstrating the success of research on reuse techniques. Through research and development of manufacturing methods, it is possible to obtain highly-pure rare elements, which are increasingly seen as valuable. These elements come from dry batteries, home appliances, catalytic converters from vehicles, fluorescent powder from spent lights, and LCD displays. Through adjustments to manufacturing processes and procedural improvements, manufacturers can produce high-value reusable materials and products, such as porous absorption materials, environmental catalysts, and reusable bricks.
It is also possible to use recycled LCD displays to create smart energy-saving windows. Evaluations were done on using heat treatment of plastic labels and aluminum foil for energy. Environmentally-friendly reagents can be used in the tin-stripping process for home appliances, computers, and the motherboards of cell phones. There also have been developments in recycling metals from lithium batteries. Research was also done on reuse technology for waste tires, assessments of applications and material characteristics of rubber-asphalt pavement aggregate. All of these techniques and developments have shown promise. In the future these projects will assist industries to produce products in a circular way and reduce the acquisition and usage of raw materials. They will provide a diverse range of sources to promote a sustainable and closed-loop use of resources.
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 22 (7)
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)