Environmental Effects of the Technology Transition from Liquid–Crystal Display (LCD) to Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) Display from an E-Waste Management Perspective

Abstract

Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays are applied to various electronic devices such as smartphones and televisions in our society, replacing liquid–crystal display (LCD) due to many advantages: self-emitting property, high contrast, slimness, and flexibility. Although OLED consists mostly of organic substances, because it was developed to reduce the consumptions of rare and precious metals, OLED display has a possibility to contain more metal-based components than LCD; for instance, a pixel circuit for OLED needs two thin-film transistors (TFTs), whereas that for LCD does one. Thus, this study was intended to assess and compare possible environmental impacts due to metals in an OLED display and an LCD on a same screen size basis, to examine environmental effects of the technology transition. Hazardous waste potentials at end-of-life were examined based on metal leachability tests, and resource depletion and toxicity potentials were evaluated based on life cycle impact assessment methods. The leachability test results showed that the OLED display has higher hazardous potential than an LCD due to excessive levels of leachability for many metals under California state regulation. The OLED display had 1000–2300 times higher resource depletion potentials than the LCD due primarily to the high concentrations of gold, selenium, silver, palladium, and tin. The OLED display also had 2–600 times higher toxicity potentials due primarily to the high concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and antimony. This study can be used to motivate waste recyclers and managers to actively collect waste OLED displays for circular economy and to direct manufactures to develop more environmental-friendly OLED displays for sustainable society.

Graphical abstract

This study evaluates and compares hazardous, resource depletion, and toxic potentials from metals in a Liquid–Crystal Display (LCD) and an Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) Display to examine the effect of the technology transition on environmental impacts.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

References

  1. California Code of Regulations (2015) 66261.24. Characteristic of toxicity

  2. California Department of Toxic Substances Control (2004) SB20 Report vol 2010

  3. Code of Federal Regulations (2011) 40 CFR 262.11—hazardous waste determination

  4. Eckelman MJ (2009) Hybrid life cycle energy assessment of commercial LED lamps

  5. European Commission Enterprise and Industry (2010) Critical raw materials for the EU. European Commission

  6. Geffroy B, Le Roy P, Prat C (2006) Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology: materials, devices and display technologies. Polym Int 55:572–582. https://doi.org/10.1002/pi.1974

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Goedkoop MJ, Heijungs R, Huijbregts M, De Schryver A, Struijs J, Van Zelm R (2012) ReCiPe 2008

  8. King County Solid Waste Division (2007) Flat panel displays: end of life management report

  9. Lam CW, Lim SR, Schoenung JM (2013) Linking material flow analysis with environmental impact potential: dynamic technology transition effects on projected E-waste in the United States Lam et al. Technology Transition Effects on U.S. E-waste. J Ind Ecol 17:299–309

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Lim S-R, Schoenung JM (2010a) Human health and ecological toxicity potentials due to heavy metal content in waste electronic devices with flat panel displays. J Hazard Mater 177:251–259. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhazmat.2009.12.025

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Lim S-R, Schoenung JM (2010b) Toxicity potentials from waste cellular phones, and a waste management policy integrating consumer, corporate, and government responsibilities. Waste Manage 30:1653–1660. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2010.04.005

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Lim S-R, Kang D, Ogunseitan OA, Schoenung JM (2011) Potential environmental impacts of light-emitting diodes (LEDs): metallic resources. Toxic Hazard Waste Classif Environ Sci Technol 45:320–327. https://doi.org/10.1021/es101052q

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Lim S-R, Kang D, Ogunseitan OA, Schoenung JM (2013) Potential environmental impacts from the metals in incandescent, compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Environ Sci Technol 47:1040–1047. https://doi.org/10.1021/es302886m

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Ministry of Housing SP, and the Environment, Netherlands, Center of Environmental Science LU (2001) Life cycle assessment: an operational guide to the ISO standards

  15. Ogunseitan OA, Schoenung JM, Saphores JDM, Shapiro AA (2009) The electronics revolution: from E-wonderland to E-wasteland. Science 326:670–671

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Rosenbaum RK et al (2008) USEtox—the UNEP-SETAC toxicity model: recommended characterisation factors for human toxicity and freshwater ecotoxicity in life cycle impact assessment. Int J Life Cycle Assess 13:532–546

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. Son KB, Lee DS, Lim SR (2016) Effect of technology convergence for tablet PC on potential environmental impacts from heavy metals. Int J Sustain Dev World Ecol 23:154–162. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504509.2015.1106613

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Steen B (1999) A systematic approach to environmental priority strategies in product development (EPS). Version 2000—models and data of the default method. CPM Report No. 5

  19. Thejokalyani N, Dhoble SJ (2014) Novel approaches for energy efficient solid state lighting by RGB organic light emitting diodes—a review. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 32:448–467. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2014.01.013

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Tremblay JF (2016) The rise of OLED displays (vol 94, pg 29, 2016). Chem Eng News 94:2

    Google Scholar 

  21. U.S. EPA (1992) Method 1331: toxicity characteristic leaching procedure. http://www.epa.gov/waste/hazard/testmethods/sw846/pdfs/1311.pdf. Accessed Jan 15 2017

  22. U.S. EPA (2007) Method 6010C: inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry. http://www.epa.gov/osw/hazard/testmethods/sw846/pdfs/6010c.pdf

  23. Woo SH, Lee DS, Lim SR (2016) Potential resource and toxicity impacts from metals in waste electronic devices. Integr Environ Assess Manag 12:364–370. https://doi.org/10.1002/ieam.1710

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Zissis G, Bertoldi P (2014) 2014 Status report on organic light emitting diodes (OLED). Eur Comm Joint Res Centre. https://doi.org/10.2790/461054

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2017R1D1A1A09000632).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Dae Sung Lee or Seong-Rin Lim.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 90 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Yeom, JM., Jung, HJ., Choi, SY. et al. Environmental Effects of the Technology Transition from Liquid–Crystal Display (LCD) to Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) Display from an E-Waste Management Perspective. Int J Environ Res 12, 479–488 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41742-018-0106-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • E-waste
  • LCD
  • OLED
  • Resource potential
  • Technology transition
  • Toxicity potential