Recycling company turns e-waste into gold

By: Kim Bo-eun

What if you could turn waste into gold?

In an era of rapidly evolving digital devices, large amounts of electronics waste are piling up. But a company based in Taoyuan City, west of Taipei, is literally turning this into gold.

Super Dragon Technology (SDTI) provides industrial waste disposal services for electronics, semiconductor, optoelectronics and printed circuit-board industries, using techniques and equipment from Germany and Japan.

The company was founded in September 1996. It is publicly listed in Taiwan and made some $88.8 million in annual sales last year.

In the case of precious metal recycling, SDTI takes electronics waste and puts it through chemical or electrolysis processes, turning it into a gold liquid, which is made into gold sand, refined and formed into gold bars.

Suppliers can take the waste back as industrial gold powder or sell the gold.

The company has licenses for waste recycling, processing, removal and disposal.

During a visit to the SDTI factory in an industrial area of Taoyuan City, reporters were told that it was designed to be safe even in an earthquake.

“It can even withstand a missile attack,” said director Shinji Abe.

The factory also has a machine that catches dust from the grinding process and removes harmful substances.

In the case of plastic and glass fiber that do not have as much industrial demand as metals, the material is used to make art.

An SDTI craftsman creates decorative pieces in the shape of dragons, fish and other animals using moulds.

SDTI has earned environmental protection marks for its artificial marble, wall bricks, pedestrian paving and recycled arts products.

The company has a subsidiary, Super Dragon Environmental Technology, in the Chinese city of Suzhou, which obtained a Hazardous Waste Operating License from the Jiangsu Provincial Government.

The company says the factories processing the waste and their surroundings are safe, but “The Taiwanese government is holding it back from expanding its operations due to environmental concerns,” Strategy Advisor Cosmas Lu said.

“We wish for a constructive discussion within Taiwan on the potential import of selective e-waste from neighboring countries. After all, just keeping waste out of one’s doorstep does not help our overall environment,” Lu told The Korea Times, citing how air pollution affects nearby countries.

SDTI’s third factory in the same district, dubbed a “green plant” due to its construction utilizing recycled materials from industrial waste, was recently filmed by National Geographic. The factory is set to be completed later this year.

It incorporates solar panels and wind turbines along the coast. It also has been designed to conserve energy through features such as sun shades that allow in enough natural light to save power and also keep temperatures moderate to minimize air-conditioning.

There are three similar recycling companies in Taiwan, including one, a silver company, that is much larger, but Lu said “SDTI is unrivaled in its eco-friendly know-how.”

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