, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 349-369

Characterization of monitor recycling in Seattle, Washington

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Abstract

With the rapid growth of electronic waste (e-waste), policies that aim to effectively manage this waste stream have been introduced globally in recent years. Seattle, Washington, has been on the forefront of introducing policies to divert e-waste from the landfills and maximize recycling. With the introduction of the Take-it-Back-Network, a solid recycling infrastructure has existed in the Greater Seattle region since 2003. In 2009, the E-Cycle Washington program took into effect and now allows recyclers to offer free recycling of certain e-waste to households and small entities. Although policies to divert e-waste from the landfill to reuse and recycling is effective, there is also a need to analyze the current regional recycling infrastructure’s capacity to handle changing equipment and material quantities. This study aims to characterize the Seattle regional e-waste management capacity, with a focus on retired monitors as an example of a changing e-waste technology. We investigated waste computer monitor recycling in the Greater Seattle region, which includes the counties of King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap. Interviews were conducted on 20 collectors, 1 handler, and 2 processors to collect information on their business models, computer monitor management processes, and collection/processing quantities. Using this information, we summarize the material flows of end-of-life (EOL) cathode ray tube (CRT) and liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors in the region, both from the qualitative and quantitative perspective.