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Recycling Lives disassembling televisions

Challenge

Offer deprived people the chance to train for a growth industry.

Problem

Electronic scrap is the fastest growing waste stream in the EU. Modern appliances are generally not designed for easy repair or disassembly and present huge challenges for traditional recycling methods. Flat screen televisions are either lit by a mercury bulb or LEDs, but telling them apart is not straightforward. Due to the hazard presented by mercury bulbs the units are typically highly sealed, in some cases using over 200 screws of different, non-standard head types. Shredding of this waste stream is too dangerous so they must be taken apart.

Solution

Recycling Lives offers deprived and vulnerable people in society the opportunity to learn skills and earn a living as part of an enterprise that recycles end-of-life television sets. The sets are taken apart on a manual line with high levels of safety, and separated into different waste streams. Training is key to operating an efficient and rapid turnover on the line.

Valuable components that are still working well, such as motherboards, are sold on eBay with instructions for how to use them to effect a repair. These sales are much cheaper than the replacement parts from the manufacturer, and enable a repair sector to operate commercially.

Benefits

Recycle over 1,000 TVs a day
Sell over 150 television parts per month
One of the biggest eBay sellers in the UK
Providing employment opportunities and skills for long-term unemployed, homeless and people leaving prison

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