Electronics recycling doesn’t just encompass mobile devices and old computers. One of the biggest threats to the e-waste stream is the irresponsible recycling of CRT glass, which is commonly found in flat panel TVs.
It’s been one year since Colorado adopted the e-waste ban and the burden of disposing old TVs has become a huge burden on its citizens.
Part of the challenge lies in the state’s recycling ban itself. Instead of passing extended producer responsibility legislation, Colorado moved to simply ban the practice of bringing old and unwanted electronics to the dump. That has left consumers, not OEMs or local communities, responsible for finding recycling outlets.
Many thrift stores and even recycling firms are refusing to accept CRT/TVs for recycling, feeling that by taking on the burden of properly recycling this material will be costly and lead to the risk of a stockpile. A massive stockpile of CRT glass would cost between $85 and $360 million to dispose of because the old equipment bares little to no return value. Consumers are also being asked to shell out as much as a dollar per diagonal inch just to convince recycling firms to take on the material.
If televisions and computers are found to be illegally dumped, residents face a maximum potential fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail.
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. The longer these flat panel TVs with CRT glass are warehoused, the further their value will decrease due to the rapid innovation of new display technology.