Local business prepares for waste mountain

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A leading south west recycling company is preparing for a surge in discarded TV and video equipment as the region prepares for the digital switchover this summer.

The Electronic Waste Company, based in Redruth, is expecting to deal with thousands of additional items when the West Country’s analogue TV transmitters are turned off this summer.

While many people have chosen to buy a set-top box for use with their existing equipment, many will choose to throw out their old sets for a digital ready TV.

The TV regulator OFCOM estimated that in the third quarter of 2008, the most recent period for which figures are available, almost a quarter of TV sets had still not been converted or upgraded to receive digital TV.

Damian Lambkin, The Electronic Waste Company’s managing director, commented: “We’re predicting that the digital switchover could create a waste mountain for the region. Despite the credit crunch, people are still throwing out their old kit to replace it with digital ready TVs … we just hope householders act responsibly, and make sure their equipment is being recycled.”

The Electronic Waste Company is preparing to process the TV equipment alongside other electronic goods ranging from refrigeration to toys, lighting and IT.

The company will strip the equipment, removing harmful chemicals, and prepare the plastic, wiring, glass and other components for recycling.

Electronic goods which are put out with normal domestic waste and end up in landfill can leach dangerous metals such as nickel, cadmium and lead into surrounding watercourses.

Lambkin continued: “Nationally, almost three million homes have still not converted to digital TV. Many of those will have two or more TVs, plus analogue video recorders. While many of those will choose to buy set-top boxes, rather than replace their equipment, that could still mean hundreds of thousands of TVs end scrapped.”

The Electronic Waste Company has recently begun to prepare its Redruth headquarters to accept domestic electronic waste, free of charge.

Previously, the company has only accepted trade waste goods, with clients including the NHS, local authorities and businesses including electronic giant Sony.

The company has invested in equipment and staff training to sort and shreds plastics, allowing the casings of electronic goods to be recycled more effectively.

Last year, the company was named as a finalist in the National Recycling awards for its work to prevent electronic goods ending up in landfill site. The company either reuses or recycles 100% of the waste it receives … nothing goes to landfill.

The company has also been recognised with the ISO14001 and 9001 certificates for its commitment to environmental management.