ALBA Group breaks ground on Hong Kong facility

ALBA Integrated Waste Solutions Hong Kong Ltd. (ALBA IWS), a subsidiary of Germany’s ALBA Group, has conducted a groundbreaking celebration for its waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) recycling facility in Hong Kong.

The facility is being built as part of a $22 million (€19.7 million) contract between ALBA and Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department (EPD) to collect obsolete electronics throughout the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), design and build the plant and then operate it for 10 years.

The Hong Kong EPD estimates about 70,000 tonnes of WEEE materials are discarded in the SAR each year, with the new plant having the initial capacity to handle 30,000 tonnes. That capacity can be increased to 57,000 tonnes per year by adding additional work shifts, if necessary, the company says.

Axel Schweitzer, CEO of the ALBA Group, told groundbreaking ceremony attendees the new facility “will be a leading project for the state of the art in the Asia region. Because of this, Hong Kong is seen as the leader in the management of this difficult waste.” He also said the highly automated plant would be able “to create high-quality secondary raw materials.”

The facility features four separate processing lines for refrigerators, air conditioners, televisions and other electronic products. The automated equipment is being designed and installed by Erdwich Vertriebs GmbH of Kaufering, Germany.

At the plant, e-scrap judged to be in good condition will be identified and refurbished for donation to nonprofit groups partnering with ALBA IWS. A depollution area will remove refrigerants, mercury-containing flat panel backlights, leaded glass CRTs (cathode ray tubes) and other toxic substances and items. The remaining items and components will be shredded and sorted into marketable metals and plastics materials.

“We are confident that with their extensive experience in the environmental industry, they will be able to proactively source regulated e-waste within the community for proper treatment at the facility,” says EPD Secretary Wong Kam-Sing.