Recycling plants offer ‘solution’ to e-waste problem
DAVID UNWIN / Tips
Paul Hammer, Etech trader, in front of the electronic waste recycling plant that the company has just built.
Palmerston North engineering firm Etech is “in the process of” creating a possible solution for electronic waste disposal.
Etech has completed a multi-million dollar e-waste recycling plant, a pyrolysis plant, which is being shipped overseas and more are in the works.
Etech has worked with Singapore-based Circular Resources to design and build the product for the past several years.
The huge machine is capable of processing electrical waste like cell phones, computers or circuit boards and extracting precious metals from the items.
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Etech chief executive Rob Baan said that rather than burning the waste, the pyrolysis process separated metals like silver, gold, palladium, platinum and copper from plastic machines.
“Most if it would otherwise be exported to third world countries where child labor tries to deconstruct it and remove valuables.” “
The completed plant was put into containers this week and shipped to Australia.
Baan said it was the first factory, costing $ 5 million to build, to go to Australia and it was producing seven.
Baan said it is a growing market with huge demand around the world as people search for e-waste solutions.
“There will be other companies that will develop their solutions for electronic waste, this one is one of them.
“It really has huge potential around the world and we’re right in the thick of it. “
Baan said the biggest challenge would be getting enough qualified people to cope with the workload.
In 18 months, they will need 20 more employees and build another building to accommodate the extra work.
“It’s unique for Manawatū and unique for New Zealand because no one else builds something like it. “
Etech makes high-tech products, including a launch pad for space company Kiwi Rocket Lab, which launches rockets in Māhia, north of Hawke’s Bay.