Televisions are part of a growing E-waste problem. Recycling helps recover valuable metals and plastics and prevent lead contamination of groundwater from cathode ray tubes.
Find a recycler
E-waste is a growing problem and is a waste priority in Australia. Televisions that contain cathode ray tubes (CRT) are one of the leading causes of lead contamination in municipal waste streams. These tubes can contain up to 4 kg of lead and other toxic materials such as mercury, cadmium and arsenic. Lead is an cumulative poison which can contaminate groundwater and have harmful effects on human and animal health. By recycling televisions this diverts waste from landfill and recovers resources such as metal, plastic, glass, and precious metals.
A national, industry funded, computer and TV recycling scheme was launched in May 2012 for householders and small businesses. The Federal Government worked with industry and all states, territories and local governments to develop this product stewardship program. To find out the latest information about the program, click here.
However, there are already private commercial e-waste recyclers that will accept televisions for recycling. Both pick up and drop off services are available through these operators.
What Happens When It’s Recycled?
Some television components may still be usable enabling certain parts of the device to be directed into the reuse stream. If not television must be broken down into their many different components, which must and then undergo a recycling process. For example:
Cathode ray tubes: CRT glass contains a high enough concentration of lead which means that the glass can’t go back into the normal glass recovery process like glass bottles. CRT glass is typically crushed and cleaned. One of the major reuses for CRT glass is in manufacturing of new televisions and computer monitors.
Circuit Boards: Circuit boards are shredded down to a fine powder and separated into plastics and precious metals. This material can be reformed into a range of products.
Plastic Casings: Plastics are shredded and tested for its content. Once identified the plastics can be melted and extruded for use in new products.
Scrap Metals: Scrap metals are typically melted down to form new metal-based components.
More Info & Sources
Planet Ark's Product Stewardship Factsheet (844kb pdf file)
Television recycling sign (1.31MB pdf file)