Americans now own about 24 electronic devices per household, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), many of which contain CRT glass displays. Recycling CRT glass is a rapidly growing concern for electronics recyclers with massive supplies being stored around the nation and demand only decreasing due to new display technology for electronic devices and televisions.

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) is a co-sponsor to the CRT Challenge along side the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

This challenge encourages creativity and innovation in the war against irresponsible disposal of CRT glass. It presents a great opportunity to expand and develop new recycling markets to assist electronics recyclers with the transition from CRT to newer display technology.

A progressive display material in the works is manufactured sapphire. Already present in select Apple products, manufactured sapphire is as nearly indestructible and scratch resistant as a diamond. It is predicted to be on the electronics market by the end of the year.

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Discovering an environmentally-sound technique for recycling CRT glass is especially important in the next couple years when more than two billion pounds of televisions and monitors with these displays are expected to make their way to the recycling stream.

According to a recent report, a “glass tsunami” of approximately 660 million pounds of CRT glass is being stored in warehouses across the country due to strict e-waste regulations.

Responsible recycling of this stockpile would cost between $85 million to $360 million because the old equipment yields little to no return value to the hoarders. This is causing some companies to completely refuse to accept CRT/TV for recycling.

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The first CRT Challenge was initiated in 2011 and three ideas emerged from the first CRT Challenge initiated in 2011.

Mario Rosato presented a closed-loop process for separating the massive amount of lead from the glass to a form that would return a high market value for certain industries. Nulife Glass Processing Ltd proposed a way to utilize an energy efficient electrically heated furnace specifically designed to produce minimal emissions when disposing of the glass. Robert Kirbym submitted an idea that involved uniquely combing CRT glass with cement to create tile and bricks. The new materials would be tested, labeled and specially sold for projects where lead shielding is necessary, for example X-ray rooms.

Each winning proposal was publicized by CEA and ISRI and shared with manufacturers, retailers and recyclers, and encouraged for implementation.

CEA and ISRI will accept submissions for the CRT Challenge until June 30, 2013. The winning solution will be chosen based on economic and environmental benefits, and CEA will award $10,000 to the winner.”