Computer monitors, especially CRT ones, contain leaded glass, which means it is specifically banned from disposal in landfills. In fact, according to federal laws, it is a crime to dump more than 22o pounds of electronic equipment in a landfill. The problem of disposal is exacerbated by the fact that hundreds of thousands of computer monitors and other computer parts are junked every year in the United States.
While the leaded glass face may be the largest and most visible component of a computer monitor, it also contains lead solder, copper wiring and plating, palladium, silver and a small quantity of gold. While some of these junked computers can be repaired and given to schools or other needy organizations in developing countries, most of them can be recycled back into leaded glass, copper, ABS plastic, gold, etc.
There are quite a few benefits that can accrue from recycling computer monitors. One major advantage is saving money, because donating the monitor to an individual or organization will not only save disposal costs but may also earns the donator a tax break. The second advantage relates to the fact that computer monitors contain several pounds of lead, which is a toxic substance. When broken in landfills or incinerated, they release lead into the environment, thereby transforming them into hazardous waste. Another advantage is that by donating old computer monitors, one provides social benefits to organizations or individuals who desperately need monitors but cannot afford new ones. The fourth advantage is that recycling diverts computer monitors from filling up landfills, which they easily do because of their bulk.
At the computer monitor recycling facility, the cathode ray tubes in the monitors are first removed. The plastics and electronics and them removed, separated and sent for proper recycling. A hole is then drilled in the vacuum or the trigger is twisted off so that the vacuum can be released. The external straps are all removed, the tubes are placed inside metal containers and the glass is then cracked to remove the inside shield. The glass is then sent to be washed and recycled.
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