“Anything with a Plug” – Computer Recycling

“Anything with a Plug” – Computer Recycling

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Māngere Bridge locals have been dropping off used batteries to the Library for four years now. Local resident Jane, who is co-chair of Friends of the Farm (FOF), takes them to Computer Recycling in Penrose for recycling. On her last drop off she wondered what they do with them and what else they did there. Her curiosity led to seven FOF members doing a tour of the Computer Recycling premises recently, hosted by Robert Herbert, Corporate Client Manager.

Computer Recycling was established in its current form just five years old but already it’s making a dent in recycling e-waste in Auckland. From a backyard scrap facility to a large enterprise employing more than 30 people, Computer Recycling is an environmentally conscious electronic waste recycling centre. It has multiple streams of products going in and out each day. The sheer volume of e-waste is astounding, as you can see from the accompanying photos. They sort electronic waste and either on sell, repair and refurbish, or recycle it. With an established global network of partners who extract and return minerals back to their base forms, they use a variety of processes to best utilise each article that comes into the facility.

Every day Computer Recycling trucks collect items from business premises and offices, private homes, schools and councils. People also drop off items in person. There is a charge per item, depending on what it is. Each item is assessed and sorted. IT equipment is wiped of data, refurbished and marketed to the general public thru their internet sales arm CR Tech, or broken down into salvageable components through innovative processing machinery. Even fluorescent light tubes can be shredded and the material recycled. Old fridges and air con units can be stripped of the environmentally harmful CFC gases and the gas collected and stored in a special tank for shipping overseas where it is processed safely.

Computer Recycling brought the first-of-its-kind BLUBOX e-waste technology to Aotearoa. BLUBOX is a world-class waste sorting machine which is one of only eight on the planet. Patrick Moynahan, Computer Recycling’s Managing Director, says that the implementation of BLUBOX is an integral move forward for Aotearoa’s e- waste strategy. “The average Kiwi produces 20kg of e-waste per year, which is one of the highest amounts per capita on Earth. On the whole that’s around 80,000 tonnes of e-waste per year,” says Patrick.

“BLUBOX technology allows Aotearoa to divert thousands of tonnes from the country’s landfills every year, with the ability to sort one tonne per hour. The introduction of the automated processing facility, comprising a BLUBOX shredding machine plus MSS Optical Sorter, has allowed us to increase processing capabilities to 2000 tonne per annum on a single shift.”

Legislative changes in New Zealand are driving companies to review their practices and demonstrate sustainability and customers are increasingly seeking suppliers with sustainable practices.

When looking at your e-waste and wondering how to dispose of it, ask yourself does it have a plug? Almost everything with a plug can be dealt with at CR. It’s a much more eco-friendly option that sending it to landfill where potentially dangerous chemicals can leach out into surrounding soil and ground water. From TVs and monitors, batteries ( including car batteries) , tablets and phones, laptops and computers, printers and toner, cables and leads, fridges, washing machines and modems…check out the Computer Recycling website for more information www.computerrecycling.co.nz

The visit to this vast and modern facility was both fascinating and informative. It has inspired FOF members into reconsidering what else they can do as a local group to help recycle waste. And the batteries which started this story…what happens to them? They are shipped overseas where the precious metals they contain are extracted.

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