What Happened to Your Old TV or Monitor

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This is horrifying and quite damning of both technology companies and consumers (I’m as guilty as anyone else). The New York Times reports on the glut in recycled displays: Back in 2004 recyclers of old televisions and monitors were selling the glass in these discarded devices for as much as $200 a ton. The recycled materials would go into new cathode ray-based displays.

Because of the nearly total shift in the market towards flat screen displays, today it costs those same companies as much as $200 a ton just to remove the now unwanted devices. Naturally many of them don’t bother, and huge repositories of old televisions and monitors now sit in sometimes illegal quantities in warehouses. Worse, the owners of some of these businesses, cutting their losses, sometimes abandon them entirely, resulting in public health hazards; at one site the lead levels were seventy-five times the federal limit. Read the whole story.

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5 Comments

  1. I’ve gotten rid of a few CRT monitors but they were either passed on to someone else who needed it or recycled by a reputable agency. In Toronto there is a non-profit called ReBoot who will assess any computer equipment to see if it can be re-used, and if not, then be recycled responsibly. Lately, you pay $25 fee when you bring in a CRT but that’s offset by a tax credit. I’ve done this a couple of times and they are always courteous and grateful despite the fact they are doing you a huge favour. Now the city requests all electronic waste be brought to the curb in a provided bag which is handled separately and recycled in a local facility. These services are out there, but you have to seek them out.

  2. I forgot to add that I have no way of knowing if our e-waste is actually being recycled as advertised but given Toronto’s push to divert any more of its waste from landfills in Michigan (political nightmare and expensive) it would piss a lot of people off if it weren’t being done.