Can you Recycle CRT material?

In this article, we discuss the various methods one can use in order to recycle a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) of an old material, and its various parts.

Can you Recycle CRT material?

No, you cannot recycle CRT material. CRTs were once in popular demand. But with the increase in the preference towards flat screens, CRTs have lost their value as well as their production.

Furthermore, CRT components contain lead in them, which in turn makes CRTs a hazardous material. Due to this, many recycling facilities refuse to take CRTs or parts thereof.

The situation of CRTs so far

If there has been any shift in the CRT market dynamics in the last several years, it has been for the worse. Because of the leaded glass within, CRTs are difficult to recycle, and CRT glass has little market value. 

The funnel contains approximately all of the lead in a standard CRT, which weighs between 4 and 8 pounds. The leaded glass must be processed, stored, and transported without contaminating the environment. 

In most cases, recyclers must pay a customer to remove the panel and funnel glass. Simultaneously, the value of surviving commodities such as copper wire, plastic, and other metals has decreased in recent years. 

This makes it considerably more difficult for recyclers to absorb the expenses of CRT recycling. The lack of demand for leaded CRT glass is another commercial stumbling block. 

CRT glass was simply recycled into new CRTs for years. This market has all but vanished as customers have shifted to flat-screen LED and plasma-screen gadgets. 

In 2016, Videocon in Mumbai, the world’s last firm recycling CRT glass from North America into new CRTs, shut down its furnaces and halted processing CRTs for five months. 

Videocon stated that it will resume accepting CRT glass from American manufacturers, but Walter Alcorn, vice president of environmental issues and industry sustainability for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), believes that chance would be fleeting.

Other markets for the material, such as lead smelters, tile producers, and glass firms, are available, according to experts, but not all of these options will work for every recycler. 

Certain jurisdictions, certification criteria, or contracts prohibit recyclers to transfer CRT glass exclusively to specific outlets, limiting where the material may be sent. 

Furthermore, because recyclers usually pay customers to take their leaded glass off their hands, some markets may be prohibitively expensive.

What Type of Materials can be Recycled from CRTs?

CRTs contain a lot of plastic, glass, and metal that can be recovered and recycled. Ceramic tile and X-ray shielding glass blocks are two examples of specialised goods made from recycled CRT glass. 

On the circuit board of CRTs are valuable and semi precious metals such as gold, silver, tin, lead, and copper. 

Customers may be compensated for certain precious materials and pieces retrieved from the CRT as an extra bonus.

Which CRT Materials harm the Environment?

The federal government considers CRT glass to be a hazardous waste since it contains enough lead. Lead is found in the panel, funnel, neck, and solder glass of CRTs. 

There are tiny amounts of harmful metals like lead and dangerous compounds like mercury on the circuit boards. Lead has a significant harmful impact on the environment and human health. 

Lead poisoning can result in irreparable neurological and kidney damage. When CRTs are thrown away or poorly recycled, they degrade over time and emit poisons into the earth, water, and air. 

Recycling CRTs responsibly benefits both people and the environment. 

CRT Recycling – a limited avenue

There are very few CRT recyclers left in the World. For example, Regency Technologies in Twinsburg, Ohio, is one recycler that still collects CRTs. 

It gathers end-of-life CRTs and other devices from its vendors, then processes and prepares the material for recycling. 

Used electronics that require additional processing are sent to “certified and approved organisations that specialise in certain sorts of material such as CRT glass,” according to Regency’s president, Jim Levine.

Though glass-to-glass recycling is no longer possible, scientists say the material may be used in a variety of different sectors. One example is the tile business, which employs lead as a flux in tile furnaces. 

It may also be used in building projects like pavement and cement, or it can be shipped to lead smelters to be recycled into new goods.

Some recyclers like Bill Long, chair of ISRI’s Electronics Division and executive vice president of All-Green Recycling in Tustin, Calif., are optimistic that at least some CRT glass will find its way to these emerging markets. 

However, he is hesitant to predict how big of an impact these businesses will have on the overall CRT recycling sector. “The prospects are there,” he argues, “but only time will tell.”

What the downfall of CRT TVs and monitors has caused

Finding enough buyers of CRT glass at a fair price may make or break an electronics recycler, especially with today’s low scrap commodities prices. 

In recent years, failed CRT recycling businesses have made news, either because the companies were unable to sustain financial backing or because they were unable to find markets for the material. 

Because they couldn’t recycle or send CRTs downstream, several firms ended up hoarding or dumping them.

Closed Loop Refining and Recovery in Phoenix is one of the most recent instances.

Other CRT recyclers have hit the news for even more serious issues. A fire at CRT Recycling in Brockton, Massachusetts, in 2015 burned a warehouse containing thousands of CRT TVs and computer monitors.

When it first launched in 2010, it pledged to develop furnaces in Ohio and Arizona to recycle CRT glass into separate glass and lead streams, with a capacity of up to 72,000 tonnes per year, and it obtained upfront funding to get the project off the ground, according to Resource Recycling. 

Closed Loop, on the other hand, had to deal with construction delays and unanticipated expenditures when it came to deploying its system. 

It was unable to satisfy processing needs, resulting in massive stockpiles of CRTs — much more than the EPA permits without a permit — which forced the firm to shut down. 

Both sites were overdue on rent payments, prompting the property owners to sue them and shut down the facilities at the same time as the company was being probed for EPA breaches.

According to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, the firm has 25,000 tonnes of leaded CRT glass and 2,250 tonnes of entire CRTs stored at its Phoenix facility. 

According to the local daily The Enterprise, officials believe the fire was started deliberately. Other high-profile, mysterious CRT fires occurred at three Stone Castle Recycling facilities in Utah a year ago. 

Stone Castle was also reprimanded for keeping broken CRT glass outside in open Gaylord boxes, which might have caused the lead to leak into the earth if it had rained. One of the facilities is now being cleaned up by the EPA.

Regulations required for ensuring proper recycling of CRT TVs

Though CRT glass recycling is regulated by the EPA and mandated by OEM take back legislation in half of the country, enforcement varies, according to Dimino. 

“A lot of state programmes are hands-off once they sign off on an OEM’s proposal. Eric Harris, ISRI’s assistant vice president of government affairs and associate counsel, adding, “We need more monitoring, more enforcement.”

Another option, according to Harris, is to improve existing laws to better align it with the reality — and costs — of recycling CRTs. 

OEM takeback plans must consider the true cost of recycling, and OEMs must frequently foot the bill so recyclers can perform their jobs safely.

Finding excellent CRT glass recycling solutions will help create a precedent for the next generation of end-of-life electronics, which will face their own set of issues, such as old devices containing mercury or other dangerous materials. 

The temptation is always to say, “Just dump it all and clean the market of CRTs,” but what about the next generation of materials, LEDs and LCDs? 

The recycling sector must continue to develop and implement acceptable recycling policies. Just because something is difficult does not imply it will not be beneficial in the long term.

Conclusion

You cannot recycle CRT material. CRTs were once in popular demand. But with the increase in the preference towards flat screens, CRTs have lost their value as well as their production.

Furthermore, CRT components contain lead in them, which in turn makes CRTs a hazardous material. Due to this, many recycling facilities refuse to take CRTs or parts thereof.

FAQs

HOW TO DISPOSE OF CRT TVs?

You can use the following methods in order to get rid of your CRT TV:

  • Tube televisions with a screen size of less than 32 inches are accepted for recycling at Best Buy. Each day, a family may recycle two televisions. Flat-panel TVs with a screen size of less than 50 inches are also accepted. Unfortunately, televisions are not accepted for donation in Connecticut or Pennsylvania. However, you may still look around the region to see if there are any other electronic retailers with comparable recycling services.
  • Check to see if any electronic recycling sites in your region will take your CRT television. Keep in mind that some people will refuse to accept a TV with a damaged cathode tube. There may be additional charges associated with recycling a CRT television.
  • Sony is one of the companies that has a take-back recycling programme. Sony goods will be collected and recycled at the company’s recycling centres. Check to see whether your CRT TV’s manufacturer has a comparable recycling service.
  • Someone could be interested in buying the TV if it is still functional. You may put it up for sale on Craigslist, Amazon, E-Bay, Facebook Marketplace, or another online marketplace. Expect to obtain a low price for the item because it is ancient.
  • If no one is willing to pay a fee for it, you may try giving your old TV away for free. Someone will almost certainly be willing to take it off your hands. Whichever way you select, make sure to properly dispose of your old gadgets to contribute to the reduction of trash on our world.

References

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

Leave a Comment