Posts Tagged ‘Diversion from landfill’

Study shows mercury risk in flat panel recycling

Monday, September 27th, 2010

The presence of mercury in flat panel displays, such as laptop monitors and LCD TVs, has thrown up potential health and safety issues in a WRAP-commissioned study into the technical and commercial potential for recycling the items.

 

 
 

The research, which was carried out by environmental consultancy Axion Consulting, aims to help WRAP understand the recycling outlets for flat panel displays (FPDs), as there are currently no automated commercial processes in the UK and Europe.

 

However, due to an increased uptake in items, WRAP anticipates that the number of FPDs in the WEEE waste stream will rise “dramatically” in the next few years, requiring a suitable recycling outlet.

In particular the trial looked at the presence of mercury in the cold compact fluorescent light in the ‘backlighting’ system for LCD TVs, laptop computers and desktop monitors. The existence of this mercury means that end-of-life FPDs are classed as hazardous waste.

The study took the form of four demonstration trials. The first looked at the manual disassembly of FPDs, then the shredding of FPDs, the optical sorting of shredded FPDs using TiTech optical sorting technology and mercury decontamination.

The manual disassembly, which took place at Bruce Metals in South Yorkshire, was intended to remove the mercury content from the FPDs. The stripping of the items also allowed the researchers to investigate the potential harm and exposure of workers in a commercial operation.

Mercury

Mercury remained a key issue throughout the trial, with it being stated that there were a number of backlight breakages in the manual disassembly element of the trial. And, as the trial was undertaken without significant time pressures, it was suggested that a commercial operation would face a higher level of backlight breakages.

The conclusion of the WRAP study highlighted that employees at an FPD recycling facility would be subjected to levels of mercury “higher than is acceptable”. However, it suggested that this could be reduced with personal protective equipment and local extract ventilation.

Furthermore a suitable washing medium to remove mercury from the FPD items could be not found in the trial, with results from the large-scale trial proving inconclusive. And, even under laboratory conditions, there was an uncertainty as to whether mercury could be completely washed from the shredded FPDs.

In a bid to improve on this, the researchers then used Aqua Regia – a strong acid – to attempt to remove mercury from the FPDs. The acid removed more than the water washing technique but only 56% of mercury added to the shredded material could be accounted for in output fraction.

The research concluded that more work would need to be done to establish a wash capable of removing high levels of mercury in a commercial process, as well as a greater understanding of where the washed mercury goes and alternative methods for its removal.

Facility

Addressing the potential for delivering a large-scale FPD recycling facility, the research states that a 20,000 tonnes-a-year capacity facility would potentially cost £3.798 million to develop, which would be capable of processing five tonnes of FPDs each hour.

It said the plant could consist of:

  • A three-shaft shredder;
  • 8mm flip-flop sieve to remove the fines;
  • Mercury washing stage to recovery mercury;
  • Dryer to dry the shred prior to separation;
  • Air ballistic unit to remove the thin films;
  • Magnet to remove ferrous metals;
  • Eddy current system to remove non-ferrous metals and circuit boards;
  • TiTech x-tract machine to remove glass/film composite; and
  • TiTech PolySort to separate polymers

Related links

WRAP – FPD study

 

However, the study claimed that there were issues relating to capture rate of plastics found in FPDs, with near-infrared sorting equipment used in the trial unable to detect a commercial viable level of the black plastics present in the FPD items.

 

Source: www.letsrecycle.com

Celtic Recycling – Expansion into new state of the art facility

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

We are pleased to announce that Phase 1 of the development is due to be operational at the beginning of September with the administrative side of the business already operational (new office space). The newly refurbished warehouse boasts warehousing space of 20,000 square feet, most of which benefits from a combined overhead crane capacity of up to 26 tonnes.  The Newport facility has the capacity to store up to 40,000 litres of waste oil for recycling.  All processing activities take place indoors reducing any impact on the environment.

We are soon to take delivery of a number of new gas powered Fork Lift Trucks which are recorded to have zero waste emissions through a recycling valve system which prevents the release of unburned gas.  We try to reduce the impact we have on the local environment where ever possible.

Brand new state of the art offices and high-tec training room underlines the company’s proven commitment to the training and development for all staff. 

Celtic Recycling’s continuous development of skills and experience is one of the reasons that Celtic Recycling has such a commendable record in Health and Safety. 

Storage, dismantling and recycling will be just some of the services on offer at the Newport site. We would however, be more than happy to listen to customer needs with regards to hazardous and non-hazardous waste recovery and disposal. 

Planning permission for phase 2 is close to being granted which will see additional warehouse space for processing large electrical equipment with crane capacity of up to 120 tonnes. Queensway Meadows Industrial Estate is strategically located near Junction 24 of the M4, with excellent road links to the motorway network.  

Please feel free to contact Iain Kerr – Newport Depot Manager with any questions iain.kerr@celtic-recycling.co.uk 

Newport Site Aerial View

Click here to view the location map

Wales proposes 7p charge for single-use bags

Monday, June 7th, 2010

The number of single use carrier bags used in Wales looks set to plummet under Welsh Assembly Government proposals announced today (June 4) to introduce a seven pence charge for them from Spring 2011.

 However, campaign groups have attacked the proposal, claiming existing voluntary agreements and recycling initiatives would have a better environmental impact than the planned tax.

 

Wales proposes 7p charge for single-use bags

Wales proposes 7p charge for single-use bags

The announcement of proposals for the tax on single-use carrier bags come as the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) looks to reduce the over 400 million carrier bags currently distributed in the retail sector in the country.

Welsh environment minister Jane Davidson will today launch a second consultation on the proposed tax today (June 4) at the Hay Festival for literature and arts, in a bid to gauge responses to the proposed seven pence charge.

Under the proposals, a seven pence charge would be placed on bags from Spring 2010. It had been anticipated that the WAG would look to introduce a tax of between five and 15 pence per bag under a four-month consultation launched in June 2009 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Consultation

The second round of consultation, which closes on August 2 2010, is also seeking views on whether there should be exemptions for certain types of bags used to carry unpackaged food or pharmacy medicines and whether there should be a voluntary agreement with retailers to ensure profits from the charge are passed to environmental or community projects.

Commenting on the proposed charge, Ms Davidson said: “Carrier bags are an iconic symbol of the throwaway society in which we live. Whilst I know that reducing our use of single use carrier bags is not going to solve all our environmental problems, the charge delivers an important message about the need for us to live much more sustainable lives.

“I believe the seven pence charge is high enough to encourage consumers to change their shopping habits but not so high that it will stop impulse shopping or create a significant burden when we have forgotten reusable bags.

“I am confident that the Welsh public will embrace the carrier bag charge and see it as positive step towards preserving our beautiful countryside and helping Wales to reduce its carbon footprint.

A study undertaken by environmental consultancy AEA in October 2009 claimed that there was “good evidence” for Wales to introduce a charge, and added that the WAG should follow an example set by the Republic of Ireland with its Plastax Levy in 2002 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Reuse

Responding to the WAG proposal, the Carrier Bag Consortium (CBC) – an alliance of carrier bag manufacturers – hit out at the proposed levy and claimed that the Welsh Assembly Government was “ignoring the science” by proceeding with plans for the charge.

A spokesman for the organisation told letsrecycle.com: “We don’t believe that there is any such thing as a ‘single-use’ carrier bag, as is claimed by the Welsh Assembly Government, as we know from Defra statistics that 80% are reused at least once for something or other, for things like bin bags.”

The spokesman also pointed to a voluntary agreement put in place by WRAP with retailers over the past two years, which saw single-use carrier bag distribution fall by 48% compared to 2006 levels (see letsrecycle.com story).

Related links

“We know the number of bags being wasted and we know that people have been made to think about whether they need a bag, which is the primary principle for the tax being given by the Welsh Minister,” he said.

Furthermore, the spokesman identified the growing number of recycling points at major supermarkets, which he said now totalled “over 3,000”, which allow shoppers to deposit used bags into a dedicated container for recycling. The spokesman stressed: “What this will do is not help the environment at all.”

Source: http://www.letsrecycle.com