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Safe disposal of LCD panels is now a reality

20 May 2011

U2M and Ripon Recycling have been awarded BATRRT (Best Available Treatment Recovery and Recycling Techniques) from the Environment Agency, a landmark achievement for their LCD process.

After 14 months of research and development we are pleased to have achieved this accreditation.

Products using LCD panels such as large screen TVs and computer monitors have been on the market for several years. The vast majority of these panels use mercury gas discharge backlights which are classified as hazardous waste. As an increasing number of these products are now reaching "end of life", the need for safe disposal has become paramount.

U2M in association with Ripon Recycling has developed a safe system for processing the LCD panels which takes special account of the mercury backlight problem. Once separated from the LCD panel using safe disassembly methods, the backlight module is processed in a special chamber which both protects the operator and prevents dangerous levels of mercury vapour being released into the environment. All staff operating the system are subject to regular medical checks.

The complex filter system will reduce the amount of mercury vapour released to around 60% of that allowed under current regulations. The filters in the system are changed regularly and sent for processing at a specialist company. Once the mercury backlights have been removed and processed, the remaining parts of the backlight module can be recycled, as is the rest of the TV or monitor.
The current equipment uses manual logging of the mercury levels at regular intervals but developments will include an automatic continuous monitoring process.

The system is already capable of handling commercial quantities of LCD panels and the service is offered to manufacturers, importers and retailers throughout the UK as well as recyclers, waste management companies and local authorities.

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