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80,000 old televisions saved from New Zealand landfills

A partnership between a North Shore recycling centre and a Swedish technology firm will mean old TVs will avoid the dumpster.

A new plant that can recycle old televisions en masse was opened in Glenfield, Auckland today.

The plant, partially funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s waste minimisation fund, can successfully recycle pesky Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) from old televisions that can't be used after the impending digital switchover.

Managing Director Peter Fraher of The Abilities Group, the organisation behind the plant, was pleased to partner with Sweden’s MRT Systems to bring the technology to New Zealand.

“The MRT Hot Band Glass Separator is both proven and recommended by the UN’s Environment Programme and allows us to harvest CRT’s into their component parts,” said Fraher.

He said market research suggested that around 30 percent of households will be replacing their old televisions in time for the digital switchover.

Fraher said the technology means the glass will be recycled locally, while the lead content of the CRTs can now be safely dealt with and shipped offshore for processing.

The plant will process up to 80,000 televisions per year, in that time diverting over 700 tonnes from local landfills.

The organisation also recycles packaging and cardboard and opened in 1959.

It employs more than 100 people with disabilities and Fraher thanked Minister for the Environment Amy Adams at the plant opening.

“I would like to thank the Government for its confidence in disability enterprises and its recognition of the enormous contribution which they make to our economy and the environment.”

The Minister applauded the project, which received $110,000 from taxpayers to purchase the technology and equipment.

"Unwanted televisions are a hazard if not dealt with responsibly. Initiatives like this are crucial in ensuring harmful materials are not released into soil and waterways," Ms Adams said.