Taiwanese Firm Building E-Waste Factory Made Out of Trash

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Photo: Flickr/KayOne73

Photo: Flickr/KayOne73

One of Taiwan’s leading entrepreneurs is building an electronic waste recycling center built entirely out of trash and recycled materials.

The facility, which will be located an hour’s drive north of Taipei, will recycle electronic waste generated by consumers and technology companies. The structure will feature walls made from glass fiber recovered from motherboards, and ceilings made with the plastic left over from CDs and DVDs.

“We want to take recycling to the next level,” Arthur Huang told BBC News in a recent interview. Huang is the founder of Miniwiz, a firm dedicated to sustainable building practices, and the guiding force behind the new recycling facility. Miniwiz is building the facility in collaboration with SDTI, one of Taiwan’s largest recycling companies.

“Not only will this factory do the usual e-waste recycling, extracting gold and copper from your discarded computers and smartphones, but it will be built completely out of recycled materials,” Huang says.

On an island like Taiwan, where more than 70 percent of the landscape is covered in mountains and there is strong consumer demand for the latest gadgets, dumping electronic waste in landfills is not an option.

Taiwan’s government adopted a zero landfill policy in 2010 to promote a more sustainable approach to dealing with electronic waste. Since then, the island has seen a flurry of innovation. One of Huang’s previous projects was the EcoArc, a nine-story high pavilion made out of 1.5 million recycled plastic bottles.

“The e-waste factory is the most recent project, and we are also working on an eco-theatre in Shanghai – we will build it out of post-consumer waste, re-bonding it on nano level to create very strong materials,” Huang told BBC News.

The new facility is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013.

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