Stena debuts LCD screen recycling process

By the year 2015, it is estimated that the EU’s need for the recycling of flat screens will have multiplied to a dizzying 827,000 tons per year. The Stena Metall Group is now launching a closed process for handling LCD screens.

“The degree of recycling is high and there are major environmental benefits. Moreover, we are able to move away from manual dismantling,” said Staffan Johansson, managing director for GRIAG Glasrecycling, a part of the Stena Metall Group.

In 2008, over 100 million flat screens were sold in Europe. TVs, computer monitors and laptops with LCD, LED or plasma technology have rapidly found a place in European homes. However, there is a lack of recycling processes that are both effective, environmentally sound and that reduce the risks for exposure to mercury for those dismantling the discarded screens.

“We have made great investments in solving the recycling of the rapidly growing mountain of discarded flat screens. We have developed an automated process. The degree of recycling is significantly higher than the requirements that will be set in the future with a tougher WEEE Directive – which states how much of Europe’s electronic waste must be recycled,” said Staffan Johansson.

In the process, clean fractions of iron, metals, plastics, circuit boards as well as glass with liquid crystal are separated. The closed process is important, not least when it comes to the handling of all the mercury lamps that are a part of an LCD screen.

“It is easy for mercury lamps to break during manual handling; this gives rise to health risks for those carrying out the dismantling. With our sealed and automated process, this risk can be avoided,” said Snorre Kolseth, manager of the R&D department within WEEE, in the Stena Metall Group.

Moreover, traditional dismantling requires large space and is time-consuming.

“Today’s recycling of electronics is very much about finding new ways to recycle large quantities of electronic waste quickly, complying with the legislation and with clear environmental and health benefits. Our new process for LCD recycling is a good example of this,” said Johansson.