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environCom opens UK's largest WEEE processing facility

environCom, the UK's leading waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) recycler, has opened the UK's largest WEEE processing facility in Grantham, with the capacity to treat over 100,000 tonnes per annum - just under 10% of the total household WEEE waste collected in the country.

Using four separate plants, each specifically designed for different waste streams and treatment processes, the 10 acre site can process all forms of WEEE waste including up to 100 plus fridges, 100 TVs and 180 large domestic appliances every hour.

With ever increasing targets for recycling being introduced across Europe, environCom is already ahead of the game and is achieving well above the required rates set by the Government. In addition, a lot of the equipment that comes into the facilities - such as laptops and TV sets - is repaired and refurbished on-site and sold back into secondary channels.

environCom CEO Joe Quigley said: "Our Grantham facility is state-of-the art. We've invested £10 million in the most advanced technology and equipment to take into account current and future requirements."

"Our recycling capacity is competitive with the biggest facilities in Europe and we intend to maintain our leading position as we roll out our expansion plans, which include the establishment of a footprint across the UK and then into Europe."

environCom recently signed a five year rolling contract with DSG International plc, one of Europe's leading specialist electrical goods retail groups which includes some 650 Curry's and PC World stores in the UK, as well as and online outlets.

The DSGi customer take-back contract is the single largest WEEE contract in the UK.

"We are very pleased to be partnering with DSGi - we benefit from a guaranteed stream of WEEE and DSGi know they are getting the best service and customer care available. It supports our own environmental policy as well as enhancing our customer's green credentials. We are now approaching other large retail groups to follow suit," said Mr Quigley.

Electrical and electronic equipment is the fastest growing waste stream in the UK, increasing by 5% each year. Over 1.2million tonnes of electrical and electronic waste are produced by UK households every year, enough to fill Wembley Stadium six times over. Roughly the same amount is produced from non-household sources.

Often this e-waste is shipped and dumped in inadequate facilities in the developing world. The United Nations Environment Programme last week warned of the growing problems this poses for developing world countries and highlighted the need for more of the e-waste streams to be properly processed in the countries which produce them.

Mobile phone upgrades, IT system replacements and households buying new TVs or DVD players, all contribute to the growing problem of WEEE waste. There are many hazardous substances in WEEE waste, including lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic and bromine compounds. If not disposed of safely, these can leach out posing dangers to human and ecological health.

"Our Grantham plant alone has the potential to tackle a significant portion of this growing problem," Quigley added. "We now intend to expand our operations across the country and to increase our partnerships with other retailers and producers so we can help tackle even more of the problem. We're proud to be part of the environmental solution that the UK so desperately needs."

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