Nulife Glass Furnace in Kent, England
by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager
This past year, I had the pleasure of working with UK-based Nulife Glass, and particularly owner and founder Simon Greer, as they established their first U.S.-based operations and introduced their ground-breaking recycling technology to North America. The following is their story of US expansion with links to information about their unique technology.
Nulife Glass, a highly specialized recycling company based in Manchester, England has developed a unique method to recycle the leaded glass found in Cathode Ray Tubes, or CRT’s (glass components commonly found in older style televisions and computer monitors). This technology is the first of its kind, and has yet to be used in the U.S.
A growing market awaits Nulife, as its technology solves a rapidly growing problem in the electronics recycling industry. Sweeping changes in flat screen technologies have made most CRT products obsolete, causing glass waste materials to accumulate in massive stockpiles. Previously, CRT glass was recycled with relative ease into new CRTs; but today, there are nearly no new CRT products being manufactured. CRT glass contains lead oxide; Nulife’s proprietary technology extracts the metallic lead from the glass which is immediately ready for re-sale to the metal markets and the remaining recycled glass can safely be used in other products.
Nulife was looking to bring its new technology to the North American market with three to four locations geographically dispersed, one being in the Northeast. The company was drawn to the Buffalo Niagara region due the opportunity for an allocation of low-cost hydropower from the New York Power Authority (NYPA). The recycling process uses an electrically heated furnace which consumes a large amount of power, making this Nulife’s most expensive overhead cost. They are also a steward of the environment and green technology. The company practices this ideal in every aspect of its recycling process when possible, making hydropower extremely attractive. Nulife also needed to find a building suited to their manufacturing needs and in a location that could easily access a supply of CRT Glass.
The largest hurdle to the project occurring in Buffalo Niagara was the company’s ability to navigate state regulatory agencies. Because Nulife’s technology is new and the first of its kind in the U.S., New York State’s regulatory bodies needed to evaluate the potential impact of the company’s operation. With BNE’s help, Nulife was able to move forward with their project, as the company demonstrated that its recycling process would have no negative effects on the environment. BNE also provided assistance with site selection, access to incentives and professional service providers.
The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, the county’s Department of Economic Development and the Town of Sheridan also played important roles in site selection and assisted the company with the permitting process for their new facility.
Nulife will invest $3.7 million to renovate a 50,000 square foot manufacturing plant in the Town of Sheridan where they will create 25 new jobs.
Read about Nulife’s road to New York : http://www.ce.org/Blog/Articles/2013/April/World%E2%80%99s-First-CRT-Recycler-Coming-to-New-York.aspx
Read about Nulife’s technology: http://www.waste-management-world.com/articles/print/volume-13/issue-2/features/ray-of-light-for-crt-recycling.html