Merseyside recycler offers market for television glass
A Merseyside company has invested £1.5 million in a plant it says could offer a market for glass recycled from all of the UK's end-of-life televisions and computer monitors.
Global Environmental Recycling Company Ltd officially opened a plant in Birkenhead last week capable of processing about 30,000 tonnes of waste glass recycled from cathode ray tubes (CRTs) each year.
The company has signed a deal with electronics giant Samsung to send the processed glass to Malaysia to be made into new televisions and monitors.
Global Environmental Recycling is working with a German Partner, GWG, on a £15 million plan to build six to 10 similar plants across the globe including Europe and North America. The next plant is to be built in Malaysia, where Samsung is based.
The Birkenhead site has the capacity to separate the clear panel glass from the leaded funnel glass for about 1.5 million CRT units every year.
But, the reprocessing facility will also accept separated CRT glass from other recycling companies across the UK. The company charges a gate fee of £30 per tonne for accepting leaded funnel glass, while panel glass is accepted free of charge.
Bob Shepherd, managing director of Global Environmental Recycling, told letsrecycle.com that it had been difficult for electronics recyclers to find markets for waste CRT glass.
He said: "In the UK now if you try to send glass from CRTs anywhere it would be rejected. It is very difficult to get the glass exactly how a manufacturer wants it."
Mr Shepherd believes his company is the first in the world to be capable of producing glass to a specification that companies like Samsung require.
He said Samsung currently builds about 2 million CRT units every month, but revealed that Global Environmental Recycling is hoping to provide glass for another large CRT manufacturer, which produces 5 million units each month.
Though the company is keeping much of its technology under wraps, Mr Shepherd said its "dry process" uses friction, rather than chemicals, to remove lead oxides and graphite from funnel glass. A special lighting system helps with the removal of contamination from panel glass.
Companies wishing to supply CRT glass to Global Environmental Recycling will have to meet certain standards for their glass. This includes cutting the panel glass from the CRT a little further away from the joint between the funnel and panel glass, in order to cut down on contamination.
Mr Shepherd said: "All we ask is that the recyclers do as we ask. No glue on the panel glass, no pins and if they use a diamond cutter they should cut about 5 millimetres lower than they do now on the panel glass."
He added that his company would take whole CRT glass units from recyclers that could not meet the specifications, saying: "This way the recycler gets the value from the copper, plastic and other elements of the television unit, while we get the glass that we want."
Global Environmental Recycling said it had gained Environment Agency approval to export CRT glass to Malaysia under the "green list" category of EU shipping regulations. This was because any potentially hazardous lead is incorporated within the glass itself.
As well as the CRT plant, the Birkenhead site includes a fridge dismantling plant and a copper cable recycling plant. Mr Shepherd also revealed: "Shortly we will also be installing a 65,000 tonne per year Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Plant to go alongside our combined fridge (WEEE) Plant."
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