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Mar 9 – 11, 2015
NH Laguna Palace Hotel
Europe/Rome timezone

Flows of engineered nanomaterials through the recycling process in Switzerland

Mar 10, 2015, 3:10 PM
Breakout 1 (NH Laguna Palace Hotel)

Breakout 1

NH Laguna Palace Hotel

Viale Ancona, n° 2 30172 Venice-Mestre, Italy Tel: +39 041 829 6111 Fax: +39 848 390 230
Parallel session 4A: Recycling & Waste Management 4A Recycling & Waste Management


Alejandro Caballero Guzman (EMPA)


As the number of nanoapplications increase, more and more waste with nanomaterials will be generated. A portion of this waste will enter the recycling system. The fate of these materials during and after the waste management and recycling operations is poorly understood. The aim of this work is to model the flows of nano-TiO2, nano-ZnO, nano-Ag and CNT in the recycling system in Switzerland. To incorporate the uncertainties inherent to the limited information available, we applied a probabilistic material flow analysis approach. The results show that the recycling processes does not result in significant further propagation of nanomaterials into new products. Instead, the largest proportion will flow as waste that can subsequently be properly handled in incineration plants or landfills. Smaller fractions of ENMs will be eliminated or end up in materials that are sent abroad to undergo further recovery processes. Only a reduced amount of ENMs will flow back to the productive process of the economy in a limited number of sectors. Overall, the results suggest that risk assessment during recycling should focus on occupational exposure, release of ENMs in landfills and incineration plants, and toxicity assessment in a small number of recycled inputs.

Primary author


Presentation materials