First and foremost, there is very little chance of actually managing to dispose of an old CRT anywhere in the US without meeting the requirements of the 2003 rule (http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/recycling/electron/index.htm), issued by the EPA. There’s certainly been no legal disposal at the business/industrial level since then. There are plenty of uses for lead-containing glass, but in the event that they can’t, most of this goes directly to lead smelters who recover the lead and pass the silicon dioxide off as slag or purifying it for further use. Some of the CRT glass is more lead than SiO2.
If you’re using a reputable disposal company, this shouldn’t be any issue.
I am posing the following question on behalf of a friend. Any input from the list would be appreciated:
This question concerns the recycling/disposal of old computer equipment including computer monitors and Cathode Ray Tubes, which contain a significant amount of lead-imbedded glass. The lead content makes this glass hazardous material. It once was easy to dispose of as cullet to be used in new monitors, but, with the advent of LCD monitors, that avenue is almost closed.
Now the challenge for the processors is to separate the lead from the glass so that the two can be re-used as separate elements, thereby ending the haz-mat problem.
Can you tell me how such a separation can be accomplished? If smelting this material is possible, what temperature would need to be reached to separate the two and what would be involved in that separation? Is there a simple physical change (eg: the lead would sink to the bottom of a container of molten glass) that makes it possible to mechanically divide one from the other?
This issue is important to the integrity of a recycling process that should matter to everybody who will be recycling old televisions as well as computer monitors in accordance with state laws all over the country, and, in particular, starting next year in Pennsylvania. You can help me understand what vendors are doing, or claiming they are doing, as recyclers of this material.
Thank you for your input,
Lab Safety Specialist
Environmental Health and Radiation Safety
University of Pennsylvania
3160 Chestnut St., Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6287
Google Voice/cell/text: 215-360-3KIM
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