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October 13, 2013

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Municipalities dealing with electronic recycling of items containing CRTs


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — State law requires the original equipment manufacturer, the ones who made the televisions and computers, to take back those with CRTs and reimburse the recycling company. But that’s just a limited amount and once the manufacturer hits their quota they don’t have to pay the recycler. 

And items with CRTs are a huge cost for most recycling companies to recycle. The tubes feature health and environmental concerns with CRTs, as the glass usually contains lead. The costly part is removing the lead.

Municipalities around the state and county are dealing with how to recycle items with CRTs. It is a nationwide issue, but part of the problem is the state law, said Dawn M. Timm, Niagara County’s environmental coordinator. 

“The trouble is in the policy,” she said. “(Manufacturers) not going above or beyond the quota.”

Items with CRTs have dropped considerably in popularity with the rise of newer-type of televisions, such as plasma and LCD and the rise of tablet computers. Problem is, those same items with CRTs make up anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of electronics that are recycled.

So, that decision isn’t going away any time soon. Timm said if she had to advise a community on what to do, it would be to find an electronic recycling firm that will take the items for free and sign a long-term contract. 

“My fear is eventually everyone will start charging a fee,” Timm said.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.

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