By CAM LUCADOU-WELLS
A BLUE-BOX – about the size of five Tardises – that rapidly dismantles and recycles discarded big-screen TVs, computers and other electronic gadgets has been launched in Dandenong.
The Australian-first fully-automated electronic waste processing system at PGM Refiners can take apart and sort up to 2500 tonnes of e-waste a year.
The BluBox machine can dismantle 300 LCD-screen TVs in an hour, compared to just two to three an hour by hand.
During the process, the plant safely extracts the potentially-hazardous liquid metal mercury from the waste.
All other components, such as plastics and precious metals like gold, silver and platinum are extracted for re-use as a raw material.
“All the components, except for the mercury, are a commodity,” PGM chief technical officer Karvan Jayaweery said.
Mr Jayaweery said big screen TVs were increasingly the television of choice since 2007 and were becoming an “emerging problem” at landfill waste sites.
Electronic waste is regarded as the fastest growing type of waste in Australia.
The State Government, which has committed to banning e-waste from landfill, invested $470,000 in the $1.5 million machine.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Lisa Neville, who visited the plant this month, said the facility was a “significant advancement in how we process e-waste”.
“This machine will reduce environmental and health impacts by eliminating the need to manually dismantle products, which can be unsafe and labour intensive.”
Dandenong MP Gabrielle Williams said it was great to see such innovative technology in Dandenong, which would help the environment and create jobs.
The government is considering submissions for its discussion paper, Managing e-Waste in Victoria.