Has a Solution for End-of-Life CRT Glass Been Found?

Posted by on February 23, 2015

CRT article_250x250While the most recent pile of abandoned CRT glass represents the current struggle to find a sustainable end-of-life solution for cathode-ray-tube (CRT) glass, recent developments indicate there could be light at the end of the tunnel. Two Spanish firms (LIFE ClayGlass and Camacho Recycling) have been working on projects where leaded CRT glass (both panel and funnel) is being used in the European ceramic tile industry. LIFE ClayGlass has received funding from the European Commission’s “LIFE Programme,” and Camacho Recycling has received support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a legitimate recycling option.

For two years Sims has been in discussions with Camacho Recycling to help support them in finding a solution for the reuse of CRTs. Particularly in the United States, there are large volumes of this material in need of an environmentally-sound solution. It wasn’t until the U.S. EPA gave their public stamp of approval that they were really able to start accepting shipments from that region. With CRT glass currently representing only seven percent of their production, we will see how the process continues to develop as demand and materials increase.

In the meantime, local law enforcement in the United States is cracking down on illegal CRT exports. In a recent case, Lip Bor Ng, also known as Paul Wu, plead guilty to fraudulent exports of hazardous CRT materials in violation of U.S. export and China import requirements. Ng admitted to falsely declaring these export commodities as plastic and metal scrap when, in fact, they were a variety of IT and electronic devices some of which included CRT monitors. Ng is now facing a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 USD. Regardless of how close we are to finding a sustainable solution, it is encouraging to see illegal handling of CRT materials is not being taken lightly. Together with a blend of strong enforcement and efforts toward legitimate downstream solutions, we move one step closer to solving the CRT crisis.

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