RCN and Associates, disability workforce group Abilities Group and Rose Engineering teamed up to develop a process and locally-built equipment for the environmental disposal of computer monitors with CRT (cathode ray tube) glass.
RCN general manager Kevin Ruscoe says they are getting interest from resellers and integrators who are upgrading to high-definition monitors.
“We’re taking in about 1000 monitors and old TVs a month from all over the North Island. We do charge for the service, but at a competitive rate. We want to target the South Island next, though there are transport cost issues involved.”
RCN estimates locally there are five million CRTs currently in use or stored waiting a disposal option. The company is a remarketing partner for IBM and provides remarketing and environmental waste solutions.
Ruscoe says he was inspired to start the project after visiting China recently.
“What the Chinese do is salvage the copper and any other bits they can sell from the CRT monitors and then dump the rest in the ground. The problem with this is that CRT glass is full of lead and it leaches into the ground and water supply.”
Rose Engineering designed a machine that divides lead-bearing glass from the rest of the glass in the tubes. The monitors are dismantled and broken down into component parts by the Abilities Group. This results in plastic, copper and aluminium and steel being recycled. The printed circuit boards are then processed at an ISO-certified disposal centre.
The lead-bearing glass is consolidated and exported to a lead smelter where it is used as flux in the smelting of lead.
Meanwhile, close to 300 tonnes of old computer equipment was cleared from homes in the country’s first eDay last weekend. The free drive-through electronic waste collection was held around the country.
According to organisers more than 6900 carloads of e-waste was dropped off at 12 venues over two days.
The total collected was more than five times the amount handed in during a Dell pilot computer recycling day held in Wellington last year.
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