Alba Electronics Recycling GmbH, a subsidiary of Alba Group, Eppingen, Germany, has constructed a plant in Eppingen with technology the company says can allow for the safe recycling of flat screen displays containing mercury.
The company says the automated system has the capacity to process up to 60 flat screens per hour and splits the screens without damaging the mercury lamps inside.
Cables and stands are removed from the screens by hand before they are shipped to the new facility for further treatment. There, devices are separated into pollution-free and mercury-containing components, Alba says. Sensitive components are broken down further in a secure area, the company says, with materials either recycled or disposed of as hazardous waste. Exhaust air from the facility is filtered with activated charcoal as an additional safety measure, the company says.
Alba says all processes in the complex are controlled and monitored from the outside and that the processes are designed to prevent the release of mercury. Currently, only flat panel computer monitors are being treated in the facility, although the company says it expects to begin processing larger televisions later in 2015.
Manfred Fahrner, sales manager of Alba Electronics Recycling GmbH, says the company has adapted its working methods and tools to current circumstances and uses its expertise in electronics recycling to help devise innovative methods and equipment.
The company says that while the electronics industry has largely converted to the use of mercury-free LED backlighting in flat panel displays, they tend to be present in screens that are between three and 15 years old, a group that is part of the current stream of obsolete electronics.