e-waste with Anthony Karam, Sircel CEO
The average Australian produced 20 kg of e-waste in 2019 compared with the global average of 7 kg.
This is projected to rise by nearly 30% by 2030, from 511,000 tonnes to 657,000. Australian green-technology company, Sircel, has the capacity to process 60 tonnes of e-waste a day offering a major contribution to the reduction of landfill and the diversion of commodities back to the circular economy.
The company also has the lofty ambition to ultimately generate carbon credits from its operations, proving both the commercial and environmental opportunities on offer in this sector.
We spoke to Anthony Karam, CEO of Sircel about the future of e-waste and resource regeneration in Australia.
Sircel is leading an important conversation with electronics manufacturers around end-of-life product design, urging them to use more recyclable materials, particularly when it comes to plastics.
“Difficult-to-recycle plastic materials can make up 40 per cent of e-waste products. It’s rewarding to see the plastics we recover from e-waste being turned into items like outdoor furniture, fence posts used in agricultural and rural areas and sleepers. We would love to see more electronics manufacturers get onboard with designing recyclable plastics into their products,” said Karam.
Sircel accepts the broadest definition of e-waste, recovering mostly plastic, iron, steel, aluminium and copper. With technology advancing so quickly, the company also sees a huge opportunity in green metals. “We could be building the mining industry of the future,” said Karam.
Pyrolysis Tech Comes to Australia
After years working with manufacturers to develop a specially designed process Sircel is building a pyrolysis machine that prevents some of the most troublesome ewaste materials from ending up in landfill. Anthony Karam says the unit is part of the company’s commitment to creating an end-to-end, in-country e-waste solution.
“While the unit is expected to handle just 10-15 per cent of the e-waste we recover, we want to provide a solution for all waste – not just pick and choose from the feedstock on offer,” said Anthony. “The end game is to keep as much e-waste out of landfill as possible and this is where pyrolysis can help,” he said.
Back to Basics
While technology is vital, it’s behavioral change that can make a real difference. The Western Australian government recently imposed a ban on small electrical appliances being placed in landfill, and this type of intervention can make a huge difference, according to Anthony. “While the EPAs are State based, it can be argued that a national policy on what e-waste can and cannot be placed in landfill could provide a level of certainty that would encourage investment,” said Karam.
“From individual households to the larger players in waste, having a consistent long term policy that safeguards the amount of stock being recycled will further attract investors,” he said.
Australian waste & recycling expo 2023
July 26-27, 2023 | ICC Sydney
Australia is waste deep in a resource recovery crisis and there’s never been a more urgent time for the Resource Recovery sector to come together. Australia’s Waste and Recycling Expo has expanded its Summit program in response to industry demand and will bring together 250 Australian key decision makers to participate in the Summit’s program titled “Reality Check on Recovered Resources + Residuals”.
Organisers have issued an urgent call for senior executives, government decision makers and solution providers to register for the Summit which will provide an open forum tackling the big issues.
The limited attendee Summit registration, sponsored by STG Global, is now open and will set the scene for robust and challenging discussions that ask the hard questions that must be raised if Australia is to meet its waste reduction targets.
What’s on at AWRE
- Opportunity for those businesses who have launched an innovative solution within the last 24 months to exhibit at AWRE.
- These exhibitors will also be provided the opportunity to present a two-minute pitch within the AWRE seminar program to event attendees on the exhibition floor.
- New for 2023, this zone on the show floor will host exhibitors with products and solutions made from recycled materials, or businesses that provide recycling material solutions.
- Born from attendee feedback expressing rising interest in seeing products and solutions in recycling to gauge the full cycle of the industry and see the end product of recycled materials.
- Run in conjunction with the Australian Organics Recycling Association, this zone will return in 2023, focusing on food and organics services and solutions.
- AWRE will also honour leaders in the industry with an awards program. Two awards will be launched – Best Recycled Product + Best New Innovation. The Winners will be announced at the end of day one, at Seminar Theatre 1.
- AWRE’s 2023 summit, hosted by NWRIC, WCRA and ACOR, will cover topical areas including the state of our Resource Recovery system, the reality, roadblocks and solutions to help us progress towards national targets, and the challenges and policies surrounding residuals management in Australia.
- AWRE will so host an Industry Breakfast opened by Keynote speaker Peter WhishWilson, Greens Senator of Tasmania. Followed by keynote from major industry representative David Gerrard, CCO at Veolia.
Register FREE to attend AWRE 26-27 July and learn more about Sircel and their e-waste solutions at THE premier national platform for waste professionals to join forces and work towards this common goal.