Why are 'halogenated flame retardants' banned in the EU, and what's the alternative?
Updated: Oct 1, 2021
From 1st March 2021, the EU prohibited halogenated flame retardants (HRF) 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. But why was this decision made, and what's the alternative?
The move is part of the EU Ecodesign Directive, where the grander plan is to improve energy efficiency, environmental protection, and material efficiency. It's a major legislative step towards electrical appliances becoming circular in design. 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.
Not everyone is impressed with this, according to Chemical Watch, "It is the first time an entire class of chemicals has been banned under the Directive." and councils, such as the International Bromine Council (BSEF), were attempting to overturn the decision when the EU made the announcement two years ago.
On the flip side, environmental NGOs praise the EU Ecodesign Directive for the adoption, 'as it represents a "turning point" in the way people produce and use products'.
There is, however, an alternative ready to market
Since the EU ban of HFR launched in March 2021, Floreon developed a halogen-free flame retardant bioplastic. It is an alternative to flame retarded ABS plastics for electrical applications and allows manufacturers to replace the previous material with minimal disruption to existing CAPX and production lines. Manufacturers also get to highlight the environmental credentials with a PLA that has a seven times lower carbon footprint than ABS. Depending on other circular goals, the halogen-free flame retardant bioplastic can also be developed for chemical recycling and offer high renewable claims that are certifiable.
Testing facilities are available at Floreon's HQ to develop bespoke specifications and bring them to market fast. Get in touch with one of our material experts to discuss specific briefs.