The processes that we use on items coming in for recycling (e-cycling) varies depending on what it is, the toxicity of the component parts, and the price obtained for the recovered material. We carry out as much processing of the items and material as possible before they are sent to local or overseas recycling companies.
Before an item is recycled it is anonomised and then evaluated for whether repair or refurbishment is a viable option. This is often the best method from an environmental and financial perspective. The next option is to determine if can be stripped and some parts then on sold, with the remaining material sent off for recycling. Some incoming items, especially vintage computers, are assessed as to whether they have a value for perpetuity. The last option is recycling.
In our experience, with the type of material we receive, repurposing is rarely a viable option.
We will always remove the more toxic metals such as mercury, lead, and cadmium. Other metals are generally removed unless they make up only a small percentage (by weight or volume) of the discarded materials.
Materials only go into the Ecotech Services waste stream if they are environmentally benign, act as carbon sequestration, or for which there is no market. Materials of this nature include specialist glass based assemblies, plastics which do not have a recycling code, rubbers, and some small assemblies that are complex and require large amount of time to dismantle.
Some examples of our processes include:
- Lead acid battery packs are dismantled so that the batteries themselves are able to be exported under the terms of the Basel Convention.
- CCFLs are removed from LCD monitors and televisions (they contain a small amount of mercury) and go to a specialist recycling company.
- Media such as as CDs, DVDs, and tapes are separated into paper sleeves, cases, and the actual media itself.
- Toner cartridges are removed from printers and are either sold as functioning units or go to specialist toner cartridge recycling companies.
Most of the recycled material requires processing by specialist overseas companies but there are some New Zealand companies that carry out a degree of processing. The companies that we trade in recycled materials with include:
- Dominion Trading – copper wire granulation and lead acid battery recycling
- Bristol Metals – assorted metals
- Eco Metals – assorted metals
- Interwaste – fluorescent lamps
- Kilmarnock Enterprises – CRT monitor and television recycling, and e-waste purchasing
- Creative Junk – purchase of packaging and the supply of useful “junk”
- Mainland Recycling – plastics
Due to the time and costs involved, formal auditing of our recycling systems by a third party is not done at this stage. We instead concentrate on the job of minimising the amount of e-waste that goes to landfill. The procedures that we have set up allow us to track most of the processed e-waste and are scalable for larger volumes.
We aspire to the spirit of AS/NZS 5377:2013 (Collection, storage and treatment of end-of-life electrical and electronic equipment) and have done so prior to its development. Our level of commitment to the standard is based on pragmatism, especially through doing cost-benefit analysis on all of our activities.
- Recycling at the Ecotech Services knowledge base
- E-scrap at the Ecotech Services knowledge base
- E-waste at the Ecotech Services knowledge base