Aussie e-waste recycling plant targets CRTs

As many as 700,000 CRT monitors could be recycled every year if a new e-waste processing plant in Sydney gets the go-head for an expansion into televisions and computer monitors.

The Planet Green Recycling Centre in Sydney’s north-west already has the capacity to process 700,000 computers every year and, with restrictions on dumping cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors coming into force, is keen to expand its operations.

The company charges $16.50 per computer and a CRT monitor will cost the same. Printers and copiers are $5 each.

Planet Green’s director, Doug Campbell, said a number of Sydney local government councils have been pushing for a national ban on e-waste disposal in landfill and at least three won’t be collecting e-waste as part of roadside clean up programs from January 1, 2010.

“We could save 8000 tons of lead-infused glass going into landfill or being sent overseas to end up in landfill every year,” Campbell said.

“It’s all recycled into little pieces and we then sell it to glass manufacturers to make things like windscreens, or anything that doesn’t require pure glass.”

The e-waste plant has been operating for the past six weeks and would like to start recycling CRTs from 1 January 2010.

Metal from the plant goes to Southern Cross Metals for further processing and the plastic goes to Astron Plastics to be recycled into pellets and sent to extrusion companies.

“We have all the facilities like trucks, forklifts and presses.

The CRT plant would not be easy to plonk in, but if we have the government to help us it would be possible.”

Shredfast, the parent company of Planet Green, is seeking a federal government loan of $350,000 to establish the new plant.

“I’m trying to give consumers and businesses an opportunity to come to a suburban recycling centre for e-waste,” Campbell said.

“We’ve even taken delivery of a 500 kilogram IBM mainframe server with eight batteries from ING. It won’t be easy to recycle, but we can do it.”

The computer plant cost $80,000 to set up on a 600 square metre site, which also runs on “green” power. Shredfast started as a mobile document shredding service and has undertaken on-site shredding for large companies including Woolworths, which Campbell described as being like “Fort Knox”.

“They shred 50 bins a fortnight and have a locked bunker with a guard standing beside us. We shred it in the truck on site.”