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Hazardous Waste

Final Rule: Streamlined Management Requirements for Recycling of Used Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) and Glass Removed from CRTs

Rule Summary:

A cathode ray tube is the glass video display component of an electronic device (usually a computer or television monitor). In the 2006 CRT rule, EPA amended its regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to streamline management requirements for recycling of used CRTs and glass removed from CRTs. The amendments exclude these materials from the RCRA definition of solid waste if certain conditions are met. This rule is intended to encourage recycling and reuse of used CRTs and CRT glass.

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Rule History:

CRTs are vacuum tubes, made primarily of glass, which constitute the video display components of televisions, computer monitors and other electronic devices. Televisions and color computer monitors contain an average of four pounds of lead (the exact amount depends on the size and make). Lead is a toxic metal that can cause delayed neurological development in children and other adverse health effects in adults. If reuse or repair of a CRT is not a practical option, CRTs can be sent for recycling, which typically consists of disassembly for the purpose of recovering valuable materials from the CRTs.

From 1994 through 1998, EPA’s Common Sense Initiative (CSI) Computers and Electronics Subcommittee (CES) formed a workgroup to examine regulatory barriers to pollution prevention and electronic waste recycling. The workgroup explored the problems of managing mounting volumes of outdated computer and electronics equipment. In 1998, the CSI Council issued a document titled Recommendation on Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Glass-to-Glass Recycling. In this document, the Council recommended streamlined regulatory requirements for CRTs to encourage recycling and better management.

In 2002, EPA issued proposed a conditional exclusion from the definition of solid waste for recycled CRTs and CRT glass (See 67 FR 40508, June 12, 2002). The purpose of these proposed simplified requirements was to encourage greater reuse, recycling, and better management of this growing wastestream, while maintaining necessary environmental protection. In 2006, EPA issued the final CRT rule.

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