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e-Recycling News from ecoTech


Sep 2014

The Woes of TV Recycling

in ecoTech News

broken tv

Televisions are now thinner, sharper, and better than ever. Yet we still come across “antique” wooden models that seemed to have become make-shift coffee tables much like the CRT computer monitor has become a new paperweight. Even some of the “new” models from the early 2000’s have the old, bulky design. They are a nightmare to pack, stack and ultimately recycle. It has become a major challenge to recycle this seemingly never ending stream of material. Here are just a few reasons why it’s so challenging to recycle old televisions:

Design- TV’s were not designed with recycling in mind. They contain a great deal of leaded glass and “empty” space. The repackaging TV’s so that they can be recycled is difficult due to the shape and weight. It is difficult to maximize the amount of TV’s you can fit onto a trailer without having them fall off of their skids and potentially break.

Leaded Glass- This is something that is present in most all older model TV’s. It is expensive to dispose of and properly recycle. There has been some debate as to whether or not the new process of using treated glass as daily alternative landfill cover is a good alternative to smelting. This is not a process ecoTech uses, however it may still be a suitable disposition for this hazardous and expensive to recycle material.

Transportation- Because of the expensive process to remove and process the leaded glass, along with the inability to repackage TV’s, it is a logistics nightmare to make packing a trailer of TV’s worthwhile financially. Because there are only a handful of creditable companies handling leaded glass, it’s important to make sure they end up at the right place, which may result in shipping them half way across the country and possibly the world.

TV recycling is a difficult process, but also one of the most important focuses of the electronics recycling industry. In time, this will become a portion of the industry that won’t be as prevalent due to the fact that this type of material isn’t being produced anymore. However for the time being, there are still millions of units in the world that need to be processed and working with a recycling facility who can track their material to its final disposition is key.

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