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Concern in USA over CRT glass stockpiling

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.

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