New life for old TV screens

Sep 26, 2013
New life for old TV screens
Credit: Shutterstock

Television sets have changed dramatically in recent years, with the introduction of flat-screen LCD, plasma and LED monitors. These new technologies have virtually eliminated the old-fashioned cathode ray tube (CRT) once such an integral part of the family TV.

What many people don't know is that CRTs contain , including lead and , and they need to be disposed of properly and with great care.

The EU-funded project GLASS PLUS ('Sustainable ceramic tiles from '), led by Italy's META, was aimed at developing a method for recovering CRT from recycling plants and then using it as a raw material in the production of high-quality ceramic tiles. The process helps reduce the amount of CRT waste sent to landfill.

The innovative GLASS PLUS process combines state-of-the-art technologies and know-how and encompasses all industrial phases, from CRT recuperation and recycling to tile production and, ultimately, marketing of the finished product.

The key steps in the process include pre-processing of CRT glass and conversion into atomised powders. The end result is a high-quality stoneware tile with advanced technical features for construction and decoration purposes.

Significantly, the GLASS PLUS tiles adhere to some of the most severe requirements in terms of , at both European and International levels. These requirements are known as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and the EU Eco-label.

By the time the project was completed in 2011, it had already produced more than 600 000 square metres of ceramic tiles, reducing the amount of CRT waste sent to by about 3 000 tonnes.

Project partners point out that their new process will deliver real savings in terms of natural resources. Recycled CRT panel glass essentially replaces natural feldspar, a mineral currently used in tile production, along with zirconium compounds, used as a whitening ingredient.

These materials have to be extracted from quarries or mines - representing a heavy burden on the environmental and in terms of energy expenditure. Moreover, they have to be transported over long distances, from Turkey, South Africa and Australia for example, consuming energy for transportation.

Considering the entire process chain, the GLASS PLUS team estimates a significant reduction in overall carbon footprint, on the order of 0.7 kg CO2 per square meter of manufactured tile, translating into hundreds of tonnes of CO2 per year.

Using recycled CRT panel glass means creating value and new job opportunities in the recycling industry, while demonstrating how an end-of-life consumer product - difficult to dismantle, treat and dispose of - can find new life in a completely different sector.

The GLASS PLUS project received about EUR 550 000 in EU funding and ran from 2010 to 2011.

Explore further: Reducing CO2 footprint with bio-plastics

More information:

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Can enamels' environmental impact truly be reduced?

Jun 07, 2013

Recycling the toxic fluoride by-products from the ceramic and enamel industry into high-quality reusable material reduces the process' environmental impact, but their end of life disposal remains problematic.

Recycling Europe's three million tonnes of tyre waste

Jun 14, 2013

With up to 70 percent of used tyres ending up in landfills, there is an opportunity to find other ways of recycling this material, and in turn reduce the environmental damage. The EU-funded TyGRE project ...

CRTs going down the tubes? Hardly

Feb 02, 2010

Many people may assume that conventional television sets and computer monitors — the kind that use picture tubes (technically known as cathode ray tubes, or CRTs) rather than flat panel screens — have ...

Reducing CO2 footprint with bio-plastics

Sep 23, 2013

Today, the vast majority of plastics are still made using non-renewable fossil fuels, especially petroleum. With concerns about environmental impact and climate change increasing, some researchers have begun ...

Recommended for you

Voice, image give clues in hunt for Foley's killer

Aug 21, 2014

Police and intelligence services are using image analysis and voice-recognition software, studying social media postings and seeking human tips as they scramble to identify the militant recorded on a video ...

Smartphone-loss anxiety disorder

Aug 21, 2014

The smart phone has changed our behavior, sometimes for the better as we are now able to connect and engage with many more people than ever before, sometimes for the worse in that we may have become over-reliant on the connectivity ...

Why conspiracy theorists won't give up on MH17 and MH370

Aug 20, 2014

A huge criminal investigation is underway in the Netherlands, following the downing of flight MH17. Ten Dutch prosecutors and 200 policemen are involved in collecting evidence to present at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The inv ...

Here's how you find out who shot down MH17

Aug 20, 2014

More than a month has passed since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed with the loss of all 298 lives on board. But despite the disturbances at the crash site near the small town of Grabovo, near Donetsk ...

Assange talks of leaving embassy, sowing confusion

Aug 18, 2014

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sowed confusion Monday with an announcement that appeared to indicate he was leaving his embassy bolt hole, but his spokesman later clarified that that would not happen unless ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) Sep 27, 2013
There was a competition for suggestions about the use of this material, other than it being a land-fill. My proposal was to crush it less finely than as needed above, and then to use it in concrete instead of sand. This special concrete would find use in the walls of nuclear plants that must resist the harmful radiation from radio-active materials, since the approximately 25% mass of lead in the glass, is good at absorbing these harmful rays, thereby permitting the use of lighter or thinner structures.