In certain WEEE markets (e-scrap to our USA and Canadian customers) such as the United Kingdom POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) are a hot topic in the industry.
There are changes in WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) processing taking place right now, many of which are shifting away from traditional, labour intensive, inefficient, and mostly manual processes to the utilisation of automation and intelligent robotic solutions for materials recovery from WEEE.
As with all businesses e-scrap recyclers have been severely affected with the pandemic of COVID-19 with some markets stating up to an 80% drop on in bound volumes of material for processing, others have closed entirely for an unknown period.
With the financial crisis of 2008 the recycling market proved to be resilient despite raw material prices falling or end markets for certain raw materials drying up. At FPD Recycling we are confident our industry is strong and will return with a likely surge in material for processing,
Sporting events in 2020 have been postponed globally, Tokyo Olympics, English Premiership football/soccer, Wimbledon Tennis Tournament, American Football, International Golf events the list continues of postponed sporting events. These tournaments have been rescheduled to later this year or in most cases 2021, this will likely show an uplift in the purchase of new televisions with a surge of old screens requiring processing.
As the lock down and stay at home orders since March 2020 have been enforced, internet sales have surged including those of flat panel displays as families stay at home but are unable to dispose of their old flat panel display having to store the old unit until the stay at home ban ends allowing for disposal.
This consensus is not carried on for those FPDs that are not ccfl backlit such as those with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) or with organic molecules (OLEDs) as the backlighting source.
After 17 years in WEEE Recycling I have seen a lot of change in the way electrical and electronic waste is managed.
Do you remember when the skip trucks proudly proclaimed, ‘Waste Removal’ and Waste Disposal’? That was re-marketed into the catch-all ‘Waste Recycling’ and now we have dropped the word ‘waste’ and are in the midst of ‘Resource Recovery’ and moving to ‘Critical Raw Material’ management.
Thing is, those that were removing ‘waste’ electrical items then and put them through their shredders, are pretty much still doing it now… except its ‘resource recovery’.
Well, not exactly but the point is that historic waste management techniques, where volume is king, are only slowly being complimented (not replaced!) by modern new and innovative technologies, adapting to the changing standards and regulations and flexibility to meet market demands.
At FPD Recycling, the introduction of a fully automated de-pollution system for all Flat Panel Displays (FPDs) (a fast-growing niche in WEEE management) has been received very well in the marketplace.
However, one question is outstanding…. The conversation flow will have the following proclamation…
‘Yes, we understand the need for a fully automated system to deal with CCFL flat screens but what about LEDs and others? Can we just shred these?’
It is agreed by most everyone involved in the recycling and management of waste FPDs that screens backlit with Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFLs) cannot be shredded. It is not acceptable due to the mercury content of ccfls which will contaminate the shredded fraction.
A flat panel display is a television, monitor or other display appliance that uses a thin panel design instead of a traditional cathode ray tube (CRT) design .
Mercury is one of the most toxic metals to us. Even though we have been mining and using mercury for hundreds of years, it creates a significant risk to the global environment and human health. Mercury present in water bodies; lakes and rivers are considered the biggest risk, as the toxic form; methylmercury, is consumed by animals which eventually makes its way to humans. This is the main way that we are exposed to mercury.