United States – Instead of sending leaded cathode ray tube (CRT) glass from television sets and computer monitors to processors, electronics recyclers in the USA have ‘stockpiled’ over 600 million pounds, according to a new report from e-scrap consultant Transparent Planet.
‘Increasing awareness of e-waste disposal issues and the success of state-legislated take-back programmes have resulted in unprecedented volumes of CRT glass entering the recycling stream,’ it says. ‘However, a combination of market factors and mismanagement have resulted in price wars and stockpiling of collected glass.’ Transparent Planet goes on to claim that around 660 million ‘ghost pounds’ of CRT glass sent for recycling ‘are sitting in undisclosed locations throughout the US with recycling costs approaching US$ 350 million’.
Whereas recyclers earned US$ 205 per tonne from recycling CRT glass back in 2004, the ‘shrinking options’ for the material have radically altered the picture, according to the Electronics Take-Back Coalition, which collaborated on the report alongside the National Center for Electronics Recycling. In today’s market, recyclers pay up to US$ 200 per tonne, resulting in a net loss of more than US$ 400 per tonne in just eight years, according to the coalition.
Warning of an ‘imminent crash in the CRT glass recycling market’, the report urges state environmental officials, OEMs and representatives of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take swift action over the hoarding of glass. A series of meetings earlier this month was seen as a first step towards stimulating a dialogue addressing this ‘nationwide problem’, asserts Transparent Planet.
The EPA says the issue itself ought to be resolved by the states as they are the primary enforcers of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.