Government grant to recycle old TV parts

UPDATED:  The government is seeking expressions of interest from businesses, particularly TV retailers, about solutions to recycling old televisions.

UPDATED:  The government has sent out a Request For Proposals from businesses to provide a recycling service when selling new televisions.

The programme is called 'TV Take Back' and is part of a wider government initiative to find lasting solutions to e-waste, a parliament release said.  As part of this initiative, the government has also given $1.4 million to RCN and the Community Recycling Network to set up 35 permanent depots to recycle old TVs and computers.  TV Take Back would complement this work, the release said.

The switch over from analogue to digital in 2013 is expected to see most Kiwis switch to flat screen or plasma TVs, though this is not necessary to receive digital television, the government said.

Expressions of interest are being sought until October 21.

 

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The government has granted $110,000 to Abilities Incorporated to install technology never used in New Zealand before to separate Cathode Ray Tubes from TVs.

The funding comes from the Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund and Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith was on hand for the announcement today.

He said there were about 2.2 million Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) televisions and computers in New Zealand, which would all be gone in about five years with the switch over to digital television in 2013.  The Minister said each CRT TV contained about 2.2kg of lead, adding to a total of 2000 tonnes of lead.

He said it was an economically and socially smart move to recycle such devices, which contained harmful and also useful materials, and was environmentally responsible.  It was something that Auckland could take pride in, he said, since electronic waste management was not one of the areas where New Zealand lived up to its clean green image.

Abilites, which provides employment for people with disabilities at its processing and recycling plant and was established in 1959, will install Hot Band Technology from Sweden’s MRT Systems in what managing director Peter Fraher said was a kitset plant.

The technology was recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme, and was a New Zealand first, Abilities said.

Mr Fraher said the plant would be installed in February 2012, with launch in June 2012.  The technology would harvest CRTs into their component parts, he said, including separating glass split off the front, which was recycled locally, from the back glass which contained about 20% lead and was shipped to Holland to be processed.

He said recycling CRTs was estimated to generate about $220,000 per year, as Abilities could charge people $25 to recycle their old TVs.  He said in Australia, it cost about $45 to recycle TVs but that ideally, a deal could be reached with electronics retailers, who would absorb the costs of recycling old models.

This kind of deal was endorsed by Dr Smith, who said the government would release Requests For Proposals (RFPs) on Sunday, from television retailers regarding schemes to receive old TVs back from customers. 

He said he was more worried about good quality applications for recycling initiatives than the money to fund them.

Mr Fraher said the project was budgeted to initially process 30,000 TVs per year which, if sent off shore for processing, would require 30 forty foot containers to ship them.

“Instead we will divert 750 tonnes of glass from landfill, recycle 70% of it locally and safely process lead from the CRTs.  This reduces the shipping requirement by 80% to six containers.”

He said Abilities had 145 staff, 120 of whom had disabilities. 

The new plant would hire up to five people dismantling the devices, more on the processing line and with the possibility of further staff downstream of the process, he said.  The manual process was chosen because of its flexibility and lower cost, he said.

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