Of all the televisions and computer equipment that reach their “end of life,” a majority of them ends up in a landfill and only a small percentage of it gets recycled. With several countries around the world turning off analogue signals and moving over to digital TV, this number will only increase dramatically as users begin to send a huge amount of toxic electronic waste to landfills.
Studies show that while a majority of households have access to regular recycling of materials such as plastic, paper and glass the Australian Bureau of Statistics has claimed that Ewaste is growing three times more than the rate of general domestic waste. Ewaste will only grow further, with the change to digital TV.
Consumers are always on the watch out for the constantly evolving television technology. Digital TV is welcomed into homes since the viewing quality is vastly improved and though viewers can add a set top box to their existing television sets, many old analogue televisions don’t have the appropriate connections. Consumers are also attracted to the newer technology High Definition TV, and choose to upgrade their TVs to one that has built in digital and HD technology. And that leads to a large number of discarded televisions that up in landfills.
Sending Ewaste to a landfill is like writing-off valuable resources, since electronic TVs, like computers and white goods, can be recycled. As per research studies conducted, one old TV cathode ray tube (CRT) may contain up to 3kg of lead. When it is dumped in a landfill, the hazardous materials seep out into the surrounding soil and contaminate land, water, and air. 98% of TV’s can be recycled, and useful metals like zinc, copper or nickel can be obtained after recycling.
Ewaste recycling companies are able to arrange recycling of these CRTs where they are split in two portions. The front portion only has little lead so it is sent to a glass recycler. Most of the lead and hazardous materials are located in the back portion which is called the cone. These are sent to larger recycling plants overseas where they can be used to make new CRT products.