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TheBolt

The official blog of Abt Electronics & Appliances

Posts Tagged ‘Responsible Recycling’

CRT Glass Recycling Project

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

 

Ghosts of Technology’s Past

A major trend in technology is its (potential) positive benefits towards the environment and a sustainable future; products are running cleaner and having less environmental impact than ever before.  At Abt Electronics we believe the industry should follow the trend of the products and continue to move towards a sustainable future. Our Green Program includes an E85-ready delivery fleet, the elimination of paper catalogs, and even provides bicycles to employees who leave for lunch as an alternative to driving. A proactive program will lead us towards the future but what about all the “dead technologies” of the past and the waste they’ve left behind?

As televisions and monitors improve in performance in size, we are left with the remains of wide-bodied and bulky screens of technology’s past. A main component of these products was CRT, or “cathode ray tube” glass. When this technology was current, old screens were recycled into new ones, and the CRT glass recycling market flourished.  Now, in the age of LCD and LED displays, we find ourselves without a responsible solution for the removal of this legacy technology. We ask ourselves, “How do we responsibly and cost-effectively recycle billions of pounds of lead-heavy CRT glass?”

As part of the eCycling Leadership Initiative, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and InnoCentive, sponsored a contest to address the issue. Contestants were challenged to develop compelling economic and environmentally preferable solutions for CRT televisions and monitors and the winners were recently announced.

The Eco-Challenge received 57 solutions and three were chosen as winners. Robert Kirby, a mechanical engineer from New Mexico suggested incorporating the CRT glass into tiles and brick.  Another winner, Nulife Glass Processing Ltd., based in Manchester, U.K. proposed a solution already being implemented across the United Kingdom that involves extracting the lead from the glass without hazardous waste or emissions.

The most impressive solution was sent in by Mario Rosato, a Spanish environmental engineer and winner of four previous InnoCentive Challenges. Rosato proposed a closed-loop chemical process that separates the lead, in the form of hydrated PbO , from the glass. The hydrated PbO in then thermally decomposed to yield PbO, a lead commodity of high value in a variety of industries.

Each solution solves the growing problem of useless CRT glass and helps create, and promote a sustainable technological future. For more information on Abt Electronics’ green initiatives click here!

-Scott H.

Do You Have E-Waste?

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Do you know what e-waste is or how to dispose of it? Well, like a lot of people, I thought that it was email, spam, and the like. I thought that it was easy to get rid of by hitting delete. I was wrong. E-waste is quite tangible and is causing huge disposal problems in many places all over the world. South Africa, China, and India are probably suffering the worst.

E-waste or electronic waste can be anything from old computer monitors, old cell phones, or basically any other unwanted electronic. China produces the world’s second largest amount of e-waste, the US produces the most. Unlike the US, China has a much less structured recycling method. So-called backstreet recyclers take the e-waste and melt it down for its valuable properties like gold and minerals. The downside, the methods the recyclers use to melt down the e-waste is highly toxic to the environment.

The UN Environment Programme met in Bali, Indonesia on Tuesday and discussed e-waste, among other environmental topics. At the meeting it was reported by 2020 China and South Africa’s waste from old computers alone could quadruple, in China the waste from old cell phones could increase seven-fold, and the cell phone waste from cell phones in India could be an astonishing 18 times higher.

Technology will keep moving ahead at a lightning speed. There will always be a newer and cooler gadget that will replace the last coolest and greatest gadget. As consumers, we need to be conscious how we dispose of the old technology and utilize responsible recycling methods.

Abt recognizes the necessity for responsible recycling. We have a recycling center on-site, and do our best to reduce our carbon footprint. “When we leave customer homes, they are greener than before we got there. We bring energy efficient appliances and electronics and recycle everything that we remove from the home,” said Bob Taylor, director of operations.

How do you reduce your carbon footprint? Send me your best recycling tips and I can post them before Earth Day!

-Kelly B.