- Ample markets and downstream vendors currently exist for most electronics recyclers who responded to the survey;
- Recyclers typically rely on intermediary or downstream vendors to process their glass;
- The amount of CRT volume sent for processing remains the primary cost differentiator, with smaller lumes incurring higher per-unit costs; and
- Market supply of CRTs is relatively stable or even decreasing for at least half of all recyclers who responded to the survey.
The Consumer Electronics Association, Arlington, Va., has released the results of a national survey on cathode ray tube (CRT) glass management conducted by the Northeast Recycling Council.
The CEA says that while ample markets and downstream vendors appear to exist for recycling CRT glass, about 20 percent of recyclers report difficulties and are seeking solutions to avoid stockpiling this material.
According to the study:
The survey, funded by CEA, was conducted during a two-week period in March and April 2013. A total of 82 companies completed the online survey, of which 70 were invited and 12 were unsolicited. Among the 70 companies invited to complete the survey, 90 percent are certified e-scrap recyclers.
“As the uses for CRT glass decline, the consumer electronics and recycling industries have come together to find solutions for recycling this glass,” says Walter Alcorn, vice president of environmental affairs and industry sustainability, CEA. “Through the efforts of the consumer electronics industry’s eCycling Leadership Initiative and CEA’s efforts to promote eCycling directly to consumers via GreenerGadgets.org, we have made great progress toward increasing the recycling of electronics, including CRTs.”
In recent years, demand for CRTs has dropped drastically as newer LCD, LED and plasma technologies, which are more compact and use less energy, have become more affordable and widely available. Recovered CRT glass had traditionally been used in the creation of new CRT displays, but the end-use markets for CRT glass have decreased considerably.
To encourage the development of new uses for CRT glass, CEA and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI) are sponsoring a technical “CRT Challenge” to identify financially viable, environmentally conscious proposals for using recycled CRT glass. CEA and ISRI will accept submissions for the CRT Challenge until June 30, 2013, at www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/9933317.
The winning solution will be chosen based on economic and environmental benefits, and CEA will award $10,000 to the winner. CEA and ISRI will publicize and share solution(s) with manufacturers, retailers and recyclers and encourage implementation.