Recycling decommissioned in-field devices in the water sector

March 16, 2022

Water utilities have the potential to play a significant role in the move to a circular economy, with many already making positive strides in water reuse, energy management and biosolids. Another factor that can make a major difference to the amount of waste produced is having plans in place for when in-field devices – such as digital meters and monitoring solutions – reach the end of their useful life.

Iota, the commercial arm of South East Water, is partnering with local recycling group eWastec to ensure its solutions can be recycled responsibly.

eWastec has confirmed that 98 per cent of Iota’s OneBox® device can be recycled, as well as 100 per cent of its digital meter materials.

OneBox® is a low pressure sewer solution that monitors and controls the wastewater levels inside storage tanks and releases contents into the sewer network, allowing for smooth flows throughout the day.

Eamon Casey, Technical Director at Iota, said this new recycling partnership sees the company taking a proactive approach.

“We haven’t sent any devices to landfill yet because we have only had solutions out in the field for eight years so the number of returns that we haven’t rebirthed is relatively small at this stage, but it will grow over time.

“We wanted to find a partner that could cost-effectively recycle as much of the OneBox® as possible. It’s really a long-term model,” Mr Casey said.

All of Iota’s solutions support utilities to proactively manage their water and wastewater networks, including tracking usage, finding and fixing water leaks quickly, and network optimisation, so sustainability is a key focus throughout.

“One of the drivers of South East Water – Iota’s parent company – is creating solutions for the water sector that don’t cost the earth. It’s absolutely core to our values that we’re sustainable and because we design and manufacture the solutions, we also want to make sure that at end-of-life, we are responsible,” Mr Casey said.

There is currently no regulatory requirement for utilities to have a recycling plan in place for all of their decommissioned products, but with sustainability and resilience now a key focus for water reform, including in recent industry reports such as the 2021 Australian Infrastructure Plan, it looks to be the way forward.

“This is voluntary on our part, but it is consistent with our vision and is the responsible thing to do,” Mr Casey said.

Iota will send its first shipment of end-of-life OneBox® devices to eWastec this quarter, where 98 per cent of each product will be recycled.


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