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NRAs 2014: Efficiency Initiative of the Year

Winner: Electrical Waste Recycling Group

Electrical Waste Recycling Group’s (EWRG) site in Huddersfield houses a 20-tonne per hour waste electrical and electronic equipment processing plant, copper cable processing plant and multiple mercury distillation plants. This year it also became what is said to be the first mechanical processor of waste flat panel displays in the world.

The facility opened after a period of significant research into the process, and investment in both trials and machinery. The plant, which has been chosen as a reference and training site for Defra and the Environment Agency, boasts a recovery rate of more than 98%, with all materials being processed and traded within the UK.

“This is an innovative technology introduced to deal with what has been seen as an intractable problem. It is pleasing to see it dealing with these materials and keeping resources here in the UK.”

The Judges

The need for a mechanical process to recycle flat panel displays was identified by EWRG three years ago, and it set out to create a piece of machinery to complete the process. Senior management worked with the regulators to invest in controlled testing to produce a machine that could recycle any size or shape of flat panel display, with a licence granted in December 2013.

Manually, it takes around 15 minutes to dismantle one flat panel display. EWRG’s mechanical process can fully recycle any size of screen in six seconds, with no pre-treatment required. It is a much safer process for the workforce.

The monthly average processing time of flat panel displays has therefore been significantly reduced from 15,000 hours a month with the manual process down to one and a half hours for the same volume using the innovative machinery. This has a significant effect on reducing costs.

The company operates a zero landfill policy and no export policy on sale of materials. It plans to scale up its operations in the coming year and look into options for reuse.

The Finalists:

  • Bywaters
  • Eco Waste and Recycling
  • Hargreaves Logistics
  • OiLChef c/o EcoFriendly4U
  • University of Southampton
  • Warwickshire County Council in partnership with Staffordshire County Council

Electrical Waste Recycling Group

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