Lack of oversight contributing to CRT glut
By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling
A new report alleges poor oversight and weak regulations are the cause of a massive stockpiling of CRT glass across the country.
Sourced in part through the anonymous interviews with several executives from CRT recycling firms, the results of U.S. CRT Glass Management: A Bellwether for Sustainability of Electronics Recycling in the U.S. were presented earlier today at the third annual E-Waste Management Summit in Las Vegas. Rather than lack of processing capacity, the report cites poor oversight of state run and privately-run e-scrap programs for growing stockpiles of CRT glass, estimated to be approximately 860 million pounds in the U.S.
Processing and transportation costs were estimated to range between 13-cents and 53-cents per pound. Additionally, the cost of CRT funnel glass smelting has increased by over $100 per ton since 2004. The study estimates the gross profit for CRT processors, before equipment, facility and overhead costs, is only 8 cents per pound — or approximately $4.00 per unit.
With consumers in most western countries having shifted mostly away from CRT displays, there are few outlets for recovered CRT glass and the stockpiling of CRT glass has become a major problem for the e-scrap recycling industry. California, which, according to the report, accounts for 200 million pounds of stockpiled material, recently enacted emergency rules to allow recycling firms in the state to send some CRT plate glass to approved municipal landfills, and CRT funnel glass to approved hazardous waste landfills.
The report concludes that if all states enacted bans on the landfilling of CRT glass, an estimated 25,000 jobs would be created in the CRT glass recycling sector. Currently, 20 states have passed landfill disposal bans, with 17 states already having bans in effect.
Specifically, the report recommends the federal government move to enact a nationwide disposal ban on CRT glass, states develop requirements for all e-scrap processors to undergo third-party certification (although it emphasized that certification is not a substitute for oversight), and that loans, grants and other incentives for CRT glass recycling should be developed.