Electronic Waste a Growing Environmental Concern

With the fall of the “dot-com” era firmly behind us and a growing number of companies replacing old CRT monitors with smaller-footprint LCD Displays, it’s no surprise that E-Waste is an environmental concern that is looming over many businesses looking to properly dispose of their outdated electronic material.

According to an Electronic Industries Alliance report given to the National Safety Council at the 2001 EPR2 Summit, there were approximately 647 billion CRT Monitors sold in North America between the years 1991 and 2000. All of those CRTs contain hazardous materials such as lead, cadmium, barium, and phosphorus – and they all have to go somewhere when they reach the end of their life cycle.

There are now tools in place to regulate and combat this growing problem, such as the SB20 program that the state of California implemented in January of 2005. Under this program, consumers are now offered the option of free monitor drop-off to any SB20 approved collector or recycler in the state, as opposed to having to pay the recycler directly on a per-monitor or per-pound basis, as it was under the old system.

To compensate the recyclers and processors of this material, consumers are now being charged an initial fee at the time of purchase for all new CRTs and LCD panels measuring over four inches. This fee averages between six to ten dollars, depending on the size of the display.

Other states are adopting similar strategies to provide consumers and businesses with cost-effective and convenient ways to dispose of CRTs and other electronic materials.

More information about electronics recycling and CRT disposal can be found by contacting the Environmental Protection Agency or the International Association of Electronics Recyclers.

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