The Victorian Environment Minister officially opened the new BluBox e-waste processing system at PGM Refiners’ Dandenong facility on Thursday (21 January).
Lisa Neville was joined by Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan and other dignitaries and industry professionals from the state for the official unveiling the BluBox, the first of its kind in Australia and one of only seven in the world.
The state-of-the-art machine is capable of processing large quantities of e-waste in a faster, safer and more efficient way than traditional manual dismantling methods, minimising the risks of mercury and dust releasing into the atmosphere. It can process 300 LCD plasma monitors in an hour and PGM Refiners expects it to manage 2,500 tonnes of electronics waste a year. The saleable commodities it outputs will be used by local manufacturers to create new products.
The technology was brought to Victoria thanks to co-funding from PGM, Toxfree (the company’s majority shareholder) and the state government, the latter investing $470,000 towards its purchase and installation.
Addressing the audience at the opening, Minister Neville said investing in bringing the BluBox to Victoria fitted in with the state government’s plans of banning e-waste from landfill and instead finding new opportunities to best manage it for resource recovery and future manufacture, contributing towards new jobs and the local economy.
“This Australian-first technology represents a significant advancement in how we process e-waste, demonstrating our commitment to keeping these materials out of landfill,” said Minister Neville.
“This machine will reduce environmental and health impacts by eliminating the need to manually dismantle products, which can be unsafe and labour intensive.”
PGM Refiners Chief Technology Officer Karvan Jayaweera said he was delighted that the project, which had been several years in the planning, had finally come to fruition. In his speech, he took the time to thank the company’s “hardworking, passionate people” for their work in installing and testing the BluBox.
Electronic waste from televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices is the fastest growing waste stream in Australia, putting pressure on waste management infrastructure and the environment. The Victorian Labor Government is currently considering submissions from its discussion paper, Managing e-waste in Victoria – starting the conversation, to meet its commitment on banning e-waste from landfill.
PGM Refiners Chief Technology Officer Karvan Jayaweera explains how the BluBox works to Minister Lisa Neville and Member for Dandenong Gabrielle Williams.
The new BluBox plant set up at PGM Refiners’ premises in Dandenong, VIC.