CRT stakeholders meet to assess options

CRT glass stockpiles could be declared superfund sites if action is not taken, prompting multiple stakeholders in the CRT recycling industry to convene earlier this month to discuss problems and potential solutions for recycling CRT glass.

Representatives from state environmental protection agencies from Maryland to Maine, the U.S. EPA, recycling firms and OEMs held a series of meetings between January 10-15, hosted by Transparent Planet, the Northeast Recycling Council and the Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse. The meetings took place at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection headquarters in Hartford, as well as Panasonic North America’s headquarters in Secaucus, New Jersey, and a separate meeting in Arlington, Virginia.

On the agenda were findings and conclusions of the recent report “U.S. CRT Glass Management: A Bellwether for Sustainability of Electronics Recycling in the United States,” which estimates 660 million pounds of CRT glass sent for recycling are actually being stockpiled at undisclosed locations in the U.S. Among the material that is actually recycled, 80 percent is shipped to a single CRT display manufacturer and the report concludes that the current bottleneck of unwanted material will only get worse if nothing is done.

Representatives from the EPA stated that an abandoned stockpile of CRT glass would likely be declared superfund sites for cleanup — exposing both the recycling firm and parties that supplied the glass to liability. Additionally, EPA officials explained that while leaded glass from CRT displays — if improperly handled — can potentially be considered hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), individual states are the primary enforcers of RCRA. Enforcement at the state level has thus far been sporadic.

“The extent and implications of CRT stockpiling in the U.S. are no longer a secret,” said Lauren Roman, managing director for Transparent Planet. “All stakeholders must now act quickly to address the problems and work to stabilize markets for proper management of CRT glass. On behalf of the CRT recyclers that have supported this process, Transparent Planet will work with government, industry and NGO leaders to address the issues identified and ensure the long-term success of legislated electronics take-back programs.”

Stakeholders participating in the meetings were advised on the relative strengths and weaknesses of existing state programs, such as the lack of mass-balance monitoring, which accounts for the total amount of material received and shipped from a facility, as well as verification of receipt of materials at their intended destination.

The meeting participants hope to address these shortcomings in CRT glass processing, as well as provide incentives for the development of more processing technologies.

Source: Resource Recycling

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