Nulife Glass has begun processing leaded CRT glass at its newly built furnace in Dunkirk, N.Y.
Simon Greer, the company’s founder and owner, told E-Scrap News the company expects to be able to process about 3,650 tons of leaded glass per year for the next decade.
He said the furnace is “almost at full-speed” and able to produce lead with a purity level of 99.9 percent. “I said I would build a furnace and I have,” Greer said.
The milestone, more than two years in the making, was reached after extensive testing showed the system was capable of successfully separating the lead from the glass. Doe Run is only other company in the U.S. with an active furnace processing CRT glass.
Constraints on the CRT glass recycling market have been well-documented by E-Scrap News and others. The startup of Nulife’s operation marks a noteworthy addition to the downstream landscape.
The New York location, which receives and crushes only bare CRT tubes, currently has “less than two years’ worth” of feedstock available for processing and the company anticipates that total will “rise considerably” in 2016. A series of audits by potential new partners is slated for next week, Greer said.
While in the past the company had to contend with competitors offering to take CRT glass for less than Nulife, Greer says that’s no longer the case.
“I think the generators have become more diligent,” Greer said. “There have been so many stories of people burying glass or just storing it in warehouses with no plans, no technology, and I think that people are scared of it, and rightfully so.”
While lead can be sold rather easily, Greer is also hoping to find a home for the de-leaded glass. At present, the material is going towards use in aggregate products, but he hopes Nulife will be able to identify more lucrative, “higher-end” applications in the near future.
The company currently employs about 25 workers at the Dunkirk site and hopes to about double that number in the near future. “With the amount of tubes that are going to be coming in, we need to make sure we can handle them as quickly as we can,” Greer said.