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Photos: A trip through Dell's recycling plant

Dell has claimed it is the greenest IT company in the world. <em>ZDNet Australia</em> went on a tour of its recycling partner's plant, MRI Australia, in Blacktown, Sydney.
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Topic: Dell
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1 of 11 Liam Tung, ZDNet Australia

If it works, sell it. MRI exports roughly five to 10 shipping containers of PCs or around 50,000 units to the Philippines, Vietnam and Africa.

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2 of 11 Liam Tung, ZDNet Australia

"There's something like five million computers in storage. If we're able to access that, our industry would be flooded. It's scary," said William Le Messurier, director of Dell's recycling partner, MRI.

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3 of 11 Liam Tung, ZDNet Australia

Paper and plastic covers are removed from CDs since they clog up extruders. However the aluminium within the CD, which lasers read from, is not a sufficient problem for plastic recyclers.

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4 of 11 Liam Tung, ZDNet Australia

Everything has a remote these days.

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5 of 11 Liam Tung, ZDNet Australia

This board is used to remind staff which components hold the highest salvage value.

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6 of 11 Liam Tung, ZDNet Australia

"You call that a fence post? This is a fence post." Dell Australia's corporate communications manager, Paul McKeon, holds an oversized fence post made from plastics its recycling partner, MRI, collects from screen casings and other plastics used in computers.

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7 of 11 Liam Tung, ZDNet Australia

Low value circuit boards which contain a mixture of metals, including gold, can attract AU$1,000 per tonne.

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8 of 11 Liam Tung, ZDNet Australia

"If we cleaned it up, we could get more, but labour costs more than it's worth, so we'd. rather send it to circuit board recyclers," says Le Messurier.

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9 of 11 Liam Tung, ZDNet Australia

Due to the high cost of labour, MRI's circuit boards are sent to an ISO14000 certified Korean company which extracts the gold and other precious metals from the board's circuitry. MRI's glass recycling is sent to Visy recycling to be processed in-country.

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10 of 11 Liam Tung, ZDNet Australia

Used monitors are worthless in Australia, but attract AU$10 per unit in the Philippines, Africa and Vietnam, but surprisingly China is not the biggest destination. One thousand monitors fit on a 40-foot container and MRI exports 20 of these per year.

"We export that as second-hand products but that gate will close over the next few months because our Asian neighbours are getting more discerning in their use of technology," said MRI's Le Messurier.

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11 of 11 Liam Tung, ZDNet Australia

Each component is separated and shelved for processing or export, depending on the value of the metals within it.

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