Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) contain lead to protect us from the radiation they emit, and they contain a fair amount of lead at that. Most CRT monitors must be disposed of at hazardous waste facilities. It is estimated that during this first decade of the new century (yes, I'm talking 2000 to 2010), approximately one billion pounds of lead will enter the waste stream from the disposal of electronic equipment. And that's just for the United States.
So what can we do to minimize the 'downstream' effect of CRT disposal?
Of course the most effective way to keep CRT lead out of the waste stream is to not buy a CRT monitor in the first place; instead, buy a LCD monitor. They have become very affordable, contain much less lead, take approximately 80% less energy to run, take up a lot less desk space and are easier on your eyes. LCD screens are the healthy, environmentally friendly choice for computing.
Sold? Good! So when you upgrade to an LCD monitor, recycle that old CRT monitor. Check first with your local solid waste department for any recycling programs they offer, or go to Earth 911 and use their terrific zip code look up option to find a local computer recycler/dismantler near you. Failing that, most of the major computer manufacturers have some kind of recycling program where they will take back your computer and recycle it for you for a small fee. Your hardware will be dismantled, the glass, precious metals and plastic recycled, and anything left over is disposed of according to EPA specifications. Each manufacturer's recycling program varies, so be sure to find out whose service best meets your needs. You can also donate your used hardware. The PEP National Directory of Computer Recycling Programs can help place your used computer hardware with charities and community groups.
(1) The IBM PC Recycling Service allows consumers and businesses to recycle any manufacturer's PCs, including system units, monitors, printers and optional attachments for $29.99 which includes shipping. Call 1-888-SHOP-IBM (1-888-746-7426) When you speak to a service person reference # 06P7513 for the recycling program or go to: IBM Help . Institutions should contact IBM Global Financing Disposition and Support Services.
(2) Compaq works with United Recycling Industries in their Electronic Take-Back Program. The cost starts at $ 27.99, depending on where you live. Shipping is included. For more information call 1-800-270-8220 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST, weekdays or go to: www.unitedrecyclingind.com/takeback/main.html. Compaq also has a battery recycling program. See https://www.orderz.com/recycle/faq.asp for more details.
(3)The Hewlett Packard recycling program charges anywhere from $13 to $34 depending upon the type and quantity of hardware to be returned. You sign up online. See https://warp1.external.hp.com/recycle/ for more details. HP also has a trade-in program and can facilitate donations to charities.
(4) Apple has a recycling program. See Apple for more information.
(5) Dell offers recycling services for their computers at Dell Desk . Dell also has a trade-in program, an auction service (DellAuction.com) and can assist you in donating your computer to charity.
(6)Gateway has a trade-in as well as a recycling program for both individual consumers and intitutions.
Editor's Note: If you would like more news about CRT recycling, please check out this article from Greenbiz.com.