today we went again on a tour for materials. in our workshops it’s always this exercise: find materials around you that are suitable to make urban farms. we have our expectations very high :) we are going to visit 2 big recycling plants. one of electronics and televisions and another of cooling devices.
first stop was electrorecycling.net all the electronic trash from cataluña ends here. well, not all, someone said only 20% it’s recycled, the other 80% you know were it ends don’t you? link1 link2 even 25 years after the basel convection as been signed.. sad human history, recent history we should say..
judith received us and presented a video of the factory plant and what do they recycle. they separate all the e-waste in 10 different categories. they separate by hand what they can: plastic, metal, batteries, toner, electronic boards, capacitors, motors, glass, cry tubes and smoke detectors!! they have Americium.
after all the trash go trough workers that try to disassembled as much as they can, goes to rolling belt were CRT, batteries and toners are removed. after everything is crushed and goes to the second flour were magnets catch ferrous metals and strainers separate by size. another 4 people separate aluminum and plastics and what’s left is further crashed. all the powder is sucked by a big vacuum machine and is threated as a toxic waste that need further treatment on another plant, strangely no one uses APM (Atmospheric Particulate Matter) protection!
the crt tubes (tv, computer monitors,… ) have so many hazardous and different materials that they go to a different machine. after taking the plastic case (200 different screws on 200 different brands and models. we should improve design for disassembly ASAP!!) they separate the electron bomb and the copper coil. the gently (on industrial speech) break the cone from the flat part of the screen. here they vacuum the fosforos powder. 150g per screen. the cone part has lead. apparently protecting us from radiation generated on the beamer. this is a common argument, the safety of some materials is justified in a small part of the object livecycle, that after is useful live becomes a major environmental problem. in electrorecycling this lead glass is crushed and selled as a raw material for tiles. just encapsulating this contaminant :)
this always have been a main concert for us in refarmthecity. we have said no to many sensors just cause they don’t comply the RoHS standards. even the RoHS, we should say, are not very ambicious. we must design and produce electronics for the farms that even if forgotten or left abandon do not cause any future environmental problem.
back to the trash :) we then turn the corner and went to the cooling plant. over the last weeks the fridges have been a regular visitor on our crazy plans for the iaac urban farm. but today all those drawings just freeze :) we were thinking on using the fridges as containers. we knew that there is a “problem” with the gas contained but we though after it’s been treated is no longer a dangerous residue. wrong! 20% to the CFC gas (or hidrocarburant gas) is on the freezing circuit, 80% is on the foam!!
so were they make a hole on the motor and extract oil and gas. them they crush the hole fridge and separate (try!) the metal from the isolation foam. then they squeeze the foam and extract the gas. except the metal everything is burned to archive chemical stabilize.it seems that older fridges used cork has a isolation material but they had also a very low energy efficiency.
we need to go back again to the materials list. wood and fruit pallets are already common design solutions but maybe in solidança we can use other materials like washing machine metallic cylinders and clothes. that’s our job for the next 5 weeks ;)
then we made a tour to the beautiful rural landscape, visiting rocafort and mura. we continue to draw and think about iaac’s rooftop farm and went lunch on a nice vegan restaurant in terraza.
reward of the day was listening wen on the piano ;) amazing!! thank you wen hehe