A Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) is a glass video display component of an electronic device usually a computer or a television monitor. With the introduction of plasma and flat screen televisions 20 years ago, manufacture of CRTs which dominated the tv market has all but ended.
Since then, huge numbers of CRT TV and computer monitors are entering the waste stream and they will be present for the next 15-20 years. 2 billion CRT's are believed to be still in use today around the world mostly in developing countries.
CRTs which make up some 85% of the weight of the Tv's & monitors, include some of the most hazardous materials in the e -waste such as lead, cadmium and phosphor dust. A CRT consists of 65% panel glass, 30% funnel glass and 5% neck glass (funnel and neck glass contains lead) Panel and funnel are sealed together by frit glass that also contains lead. On average, a CRT screen contains 1 -1,5 kgs of lead.
At GCL, recycling of CRT monitors start with manual removal of plastic or wooden cases, metal chasis, PC boards, wires and metal strap from the CRTs. Second stage of the CRT recycling involves the separation of lead bearing glass (funnel) from the clean glass (panel) with the use of a fully automated CRT recycling machine. The panel glass can be refined and reused in a number of applications. Funnel glass can only be treated at a lead smelter to recover the lead content.
Within the world of electronics, CRT devices are considered to be a "negative value" item, meaning it costs much more to properly handle them than could ever be recovered by breaking them down. Also there is often insufficient value in CRT glass to economically support its shipment to facilities which are mostly located in Asia, where it can be used to make new CRT glass or other leaded-glass applications. As a result it is often discarded or dumped in places where lead may leach into soil and groundwater.
We are very much aware of the dangerous impact of lead poisoning on the human body, especially on the nervous system and on our environment. Lead is presently banned in fuel, paint and pipes and more recently on all new electronics.
Due to great threats lead poses to our health, we see recycling of CRTs as one of our important responsibilities to our community and environment.