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The Cost of Recycling CRTs | Southeastern Data


Why are companies charging for Cathode Rayon Tube (CRT) Televisions or Monitors to be recycled, and why is it so expensive, or tough to do? 


SOUTHEASTERN DATA Computer electronic recycler real costs of crt and tube tv recycling blog

If you still have a large, old tube type (and incredibly heavy) television or computer monitor in your business or home, chances are it’s a cathode ray tube (CRT). Before the rise of flat panel displays, CRT were widely used in televisions and computer monitors. While some CRT displays are still being used today, few CRTs are being produced as electronics manufacturers follow consumer and business demand for flat panel TV and monitor displays.

As consumers and businesses replace dated CRT monitors and televisions with flat panel displays, electronics recyclers receive the discarded CRT products.

Recycling Challenges 

Currently, recycling markets for CRT glass are limited and costly due to the process of handling these materials. Each CRT and computer monitor is taken apart and sorted into materials that can be recycled.

The Recycling Process of a CRT is broken down into 3 Stages.

The separation and disassembly of CRTs is a manual process that has not been automated to date.  Here is a look at some of the steps and stages for processing a CRT

       1.Stage One: Dismantling

Dismantling of the CRT and the parts enclosure begins as a manual process. You must remove the yolk and other material by hand, before it can go into a machine—because of the glass.

        The glass of a CRT contains Lead and can become toxic if not properly recycled. 

Once dismantled you must separate glass and separate the remaining materials into various commodity types including printed circuit board, copper, plastic, and steel. These commodity types can be reused and sold into secondary markets and remanufactured into new products.

      2. Stage Two: Separation

The second stage involves the separation of dirty and clean CRT glass. In this process, the lead-bearing funnel glass (dirty glass) is separated from the panel/clean glass. Due to the higher quality, the panel glass can be recycled, refined, and reused for a number of applications, including the automotive, fiberglass, bead, and lighting industries. The separation process is a very expensive and difficult process, and can pose some hazardous risks. 

     3. Stage Three: Smelting

In the final stage, the lead can be extracted by heating the lead-bearing funnel glass to a molten state. Once the lead is separated from the glass, lead can be formed into ingots and sold as commodities and the glass can be used as a clean glass in countless applications including quality niche products, such as ceramic tile and X-ray shielding glass block.

Cost of recycling CRTs is too high

Unlike other material that is recycled, CRT recycling requires manual processes as well as other techniques to properly dispose. Because of CRTs its material and glass are no longer in demand or used in many recycled products, the number of companies willing to take on the risks associated with CRT recycling—costs, output, or liability—has diminished.

Even though CRT recycling can be challenging, it is an essential undertaking for our environmental safety and the health of our communities.

Learn more about e-waste recycling

Southeastern Data is a computer, e-waste and electronics recycling company for businesses, schools, government and military organizations.  It is their mission to keep this type of e-waste out of landfills and therefore, keep toxins out of our environment for the health and safety of the communities we serve. To learn more about the costs or type of material accepted visit Southeastern Data, Acceptable items for E-Recycling or contact 1-800-810-0432

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