Today fewer and fewer people in the US watch a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) television and instead opt for flat screens. Reading this, you probably have a CRT TV stashed in your home or office, taking up valuable storage space and are wondering how to dispose it. The demise of these devices has created a unique CRT TV recycling challenge.
According to Consumer Technology Association (CTA), roughly 3 million tons of CRT devices still lurk in American homes. CRT TVs contain an average of six pounds of lead as well as other hazardous materials. It’s important that public awareness on safe disposal practices spreads. After all, the environmental consequences of improper CRT TV disposal are significant.
So here’s everything you need to know about CRT TV recycling.
Don’t put your CRT TV on the curb – nobody wants it! If you put it on the curb, it will sit there on the curb until it gets rained on or damaged, escalating the problem.
Don’t put your CRT TV in the trash – this is illegal and harms the environment!
Do recycle your CRT TV with a certified vendor (How? See below!)
If you’re a San Francisco Bay Area resident, you can drop off your old CRT TV at GreenCitizen’s Burlingame EcoCenter for free. We work with an e-Stewards certified vendor to ensure proper local disposal. It will not be shipped overseas or dumped in a landfill. If you need CRTs collected from your business, you can also schedule a free collection with GreenCitizen.
Accredited facilities can breakdown CRT TVs with much of the material sent into raw material manufacturing. However, the several pounds of leaded glass found in each of these TVs poses an environmental safety threat. With both the decrease in demand and hazards of this glass, how can CRT TVs be recycled and reused? In 2016, California updated its 2012 law that allows placement of the glass in landfills for two years. There’s nowhere else for the glass to go because of its nonexistent demand for reuse in modern TVs!
While the technology to recycle leaded glass doesn’t exist yet, laboratory testing is underway. Other innovators are finding more uses for the glass too, like Fireclay Tile. They use the glass to make beautiful and unique tiles. Progress is being made, but we still have a long way to go!