Technology

Associations Join Forces to Recycle Old Monitors

With cathode ray tubes quickly falling out of favor and flat-screen monitors taking their place, two associations are using crowdsourcing to figure out the best way to recycle the outdated equipment.

You may have a giant flat-screen TV in your den these days, but what happened to the old CRT that you replaced?

More than likely, it’s in a dumpster, but two trade groups are joining forces to help change that.

On Monday, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) launched the latest version of their CRT Challenge, the first since 2011. The groups are offering $10,000 for the best proposal that helps reuse and recycle CRT (cathode ray tube) glass in environmentally friendly ways.

“The CRT Challenge is a crowdsourced technical competition to find new uses for old CRT glass,” said Walter Alcorn, CEA vice president of environmental affairs and industry sustainability, in a press release. “The consumer electronics industry is fully committed to eCycling, and this CRT Challenge has the potential to uncover new, innovative electronics recycling.”

The associations are using InnoCentive, a crowdsourcing site, to field proposals. Forty-five had been submitted by midweek.

Cathode ray tubes include lead and other dangerous substances and, if broken, can be labeled as hazardous waste under some circumstances. In recent years the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has worked to create and refine regulations to handle devices no longer in use. With fewer facilities accepting such displays for end-use purposes, it’s becoming more difficult to recycle outdated monitors. CEA and ISRI estimate that more than a million tons of CRT TVs and monitors will enter the recycling stream in the next few years.

The EPA praised the initiative, saying “the reduced number of facilities that accept processed CRT glass is posing challenges for recycling this material.”

CEA and ISRI will share the winning solutions with members and other interested parties, such as retailers and recyclers.

(iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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