E-waste recycling centre opens

Environmental frame of mind: Robyn Parker with Vanessa Greenhow.
Environmental frame of mind: Robyn Parker with Vanessa Greenhow.
Recycling champion: Gary Shortland (far left) has taken apart 20,000 television remote controls in the five months he has worked at the EcycleIT recycling plant. He is pictured with Campbelltown MP Bryan Doyle, EcycleIT business manager Chris Prouting, NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker, Camden Councillor Peter Sidgreave and Camden MP Chris Patterson. Pictures: Jeff de Pasquale

Recycling champion: Gary Shortland (far left) has taken apart 20,000 television remote controls in the five months he has worked at the EcycleIT recycling plant. He is pictured with Campbelltown MP Bryan Doyle, EcycleIT business manager Chris Prouting, NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker, Camden Councillor Peter Sidgreave and Camden MP Chris Patterson. Pictures: Jeff de Pasquale

DESPITE not being an information technology specialist, Vanessa Greenhow has dismantled thousands of computer monitors and can now complete the task in a matter of minutes.

The Campbelltown resident is one of the 17 employees with disabilities who work at the EcycleIT Resource and Recovery Centre, which specialises in recycling technological waste.

NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker officially opened the Campbelltown centre last week, saying the plant was a great initiative of the Australian Foundation for Disability (AFFORD) and would provide jobs for more than 60 people with disabilities.

Ms Greenhow said she enjoyed working at the centre, but it had been a steep learning curve.

"It was tough at first, but now I know how to tell all of the different sections apart," Ms Greenhow said.

She said she used a magnet to identify the various parts of the monitors, because aluminium was not magnetic, before separating the parts and then putting each of them into one of nine tubs.

The $3 million centre will process more than 2500 tonnes of electronic waste a month, including older model televisions, remote controls and computer hard drives.

Ms Parker said the new facility was the only one with the technology to recycle all components of old TV sets, including the glass, which is used to make reflective coatings to be used in road surfacing.

"We've all seen discarded TV sets lying around and unfortunately e-waste will become a bigger problem as NSW switches to digital channels," she said.

Ms Parker said the state government had provided a $50,000 grant to the Australian Foundation for Disability for equipment to enable recycling of polystyrene.

AFFORD acting chief executive Philip Anderson said currently only one per cent of TVs and about 10 per cent of computers and laptops were recycled Australia-wide.

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