From Recycled Electronic Waste to Symbols of Excellence
Electronic waste, consisting of end-of-life electronics such as computers and keyboards.
Recycling metals is an important aspect of our commitment to responsible materials stewardship. Metals can be recycled indefinitely with no inherent degradation in their properties and recycling metals promotes the efficient use of our world’s natural resources. We were proud to be the exclusive supplier of metals used in the production of over 1000 medals awarded at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Traditionally metals for Olympic medals were sourced entirely from mined resources, but we were committed to providing some recycled metal content for the Olympic medals. We became the first metal supplier in Olympic history to include metals recovered from E-waste in the Olympic medals. E-waste consists of end-of-life electronics such as computers and keyboards.
Our smelter and refinery in Trail, B.C. has been recycling E-waste since 2006, diverting it from many landfills. Trail developed an E-waste recycling process which maximizes metal recovery. Metals are recovered from cathode ray tube (CRT) glass, computer parts and circuit boards through separation, segregation and smelting. In order to maximize metal recycling, some components such as circuit boards and aluminum are separated and sent to specialty refiners. Other components such as CRT glass are processed at Trail Operations into metal ingots, a process which involves heating the glass with other feeds, separating the impure molten metal and electrolytic refining into pure metal. To maximize recycling efficiency, we sent some of our E-waste to Umicore facilities in Belgium in order for them to process our E-waste and provide us with metals that were then used in the Olympic medals. We believed that it was important to have recycled metals in the medals of the 2010 Olympic Games in order to send a message that responsible solutions do exist to meet the sustainability challenge.
The Olympic and Paralympic gold medals used in the 2010 Winter Games, each containing some recycled metals from electronic waste.
Over the past four years Trail has processed over 27,000 tonnes of E-waste and as the program grows, we expect Trail to process up to 15,000 tonnes of E-waste per year. As Christa Ford, Business Development Chemist, from our Trail Operations says “By diverting recyclable materials from the landfill, we can extend the life of our natural resources by using what we have already mined once.” Every tonne of recycled electronics reduces waste, decreases the need for new landfills and saves energy that would be needed to generate mined resources. Recycling E-waste and turning them into Olympic medals that are symbols of excellence is one step in our journey towards sustainability at Teck. Olympic Athlete Kelly VanderBeek, whom we sponsored, said, “Teck’s foresight with the metals and medal connection was perfect - this metal that may have ended up in a landfill will now be cherished for all time.”
Our Commitment to Sustainable Winter Games
Teck was a member of VANOC’s 2010 Carbon Partner Program which aimed to make the 2010 Winter Games carbon neutral. We offset all of our corporate travel for the three month period prior to and during the Winter Games, offsetting approximately 550 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The offsets included British Columbia-based clean technology projects as well as global projects meeting the Gold Standard, a certification scheme that accepts only renewable energy and end-use energy efficiency projects that promote sustainable development.