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Earth Power Television Technology Hardware

Today's Lighter TVs Mean Much Less E-Waste 197

MojoKid writes "We all know that today's flat-screen TVs weigh far less than old-style CRTs, or they wouldn't be able to hang on the wall. New research from the Consumer Electronics Association finds that this translates into a massive savings of electronics waste. The report found that today's flat screen TVs are 82% lighter and 75% smaller than cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs. In other words, 40- to 70-inch flat-panel TVs weigh 34% less than 13- to 36-inch CRT TVs. This reduction in materials has a staggering downstream effect. The report claimed that an old 36-inch CRT TV generated about the same amount of electronics waste as 5,080 cell phones. However, today's 70-inch flat-screen TV generate the equivalent of just 953 cell phones."
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Today's Lighter TVs Mean Much Less E-Waste

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  • Tit for tat (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrQuacker ( 1938262 ) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @05:48PM (#36859138)

    Sure, you eliminate several kilos of leaded glass, but you replace it with LCD electronics and all the highly toxic compounds associated with that process. Crushed and submerged in water, leaded glass will not leech, but let the waste from LCDs soak in a stream and you'll soon find heavy metals downstream.

    So while you have less overall weight of e-waste, the potency of the waste goes up.

    • Re:Tit for tat (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gilesjuk ( 604902 ) <<giles.jones> <at> <>> on Saturday July 23, 2011 @05:55PM (#36859174)

      But pixel mapped displays should last longer than scanning tubes. The electron guns, valves and other components in a CRT display degraded over time.

      • by rtaylor ( 70602 )

        Plasma screens certainly don't last very long before the colour starts going off.

        Do LED backed LCDs use a phosphor coating? In which case they won't last more than 2 or 3 years either before becoming dim or losing colour correctness.

        • TVs maybe, computer monitors not so much. I've had this Acer for 5 years and it's fine.
          • You'd be surprised at the difference compared to when your device was new. CCFL backlights don't age nicely, which is why many older laptops have yellowish screens.

            Depends a lot on the usage, of course... my backlights all look more or less like new, but I'm not one of those people who runs 'em on 100% brightness all the time (33% right now in a moving car).

        • Re:Tit for tat (Score:4, Interesting)

          by powerlord ( 28156 ) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @06:45PM (#36859452) Journal

          Don't know, but I've got a pre LED, 32" LCD TV from 2006 that is still good sitting in the living room (watch the backlight go right after I write this :) ).

          The color still seems fine, and the only reason I would consider replacing it is for a larger model (prices have dropped enough to make that feasible), while I'd move that unit into another room for auxiliary use.

          It replaced a 2001 21" CRT that was still good (but with HD TV around the corner I decided to trade up).

          That replaced a 1981-2 19" CRT that finally died (no amount of bench-thumping would bring the picture back).

          So, so far, the earliest CRT model lasted ~19-20 yrs. Replaced by a CRT that only lasted ~5-6 (before being discarded as obsolescent not due to failure), and the current LCD is approaching the same 5-6 years and shows no problems so far.

          I hope it reaches 19-20, but doubt it will. I bet it dies before the 10 year mark, although the biggest weakness from what I understand is the pre-LED backlight, so I have high hopes the next model lasts longer. :)

          • Re:Tit for tat (Score:5, Informative)

            by adolf ( 21054 ) <> on Saturday July 23, 2011 @11:48PM (#36860546) Journal

            CCFL backlight tubes (like your set has) are replaceable. It's not generally a very fun process as it takes some time to do, but it is do-able.

            We've replaced a few in the shop, mostly on laptops, but the concept is exactly the same as size scales up.

            The most common failure I see on LCDs these days, is electrolytic capacitors. I fixed dodgy a 19" Viewsonic LCD a month or so ago at home by replacing a visibly swollen cap with a $2 Nichicon from Radio Shack. (Yep, I got ripped off on the part, but it's so cheap that it really doesn't matter, was cash-and-carry, and the new part is better enough than the old one that it's unlikely to fail that way again.)

            The hardest part, in both cases, is just the basic disassembly and reassembly. And these things are generally far easier to take apart than, say, an iPod...

            Whether it's worth it or not to fix (or have fixed) your LCD when it fails is up to you. But back to the topic of TFA: If/when you decide that it's had enough, do the landfill a favor and at least try to give it away on Craigslist or something first.

            I mean: If it dies tomorrow, I (for one) would love to try to rescue it for a bedroom TV, or a wall-mounted PC display, or something cheap to occasionally hang up by the pool. And even though I suck at component-level troubleshooting, I'd have a crack at fixing it.

            • as parent says, look for bulged or leaking caps ( has some examples of what it look like).

              • as parent says, look for bulged or leaking caps ( has some examples of what it look like).

                Had a scanner radio with memory loss.

                The five volt supply was reading 3 volts.

                I put five volts on and a tantalum cap complained.
                I cut one lead, and problem was gone.

                I did not even replace the cap.

                That was the cap that decided that it wanted to be a Zener when it grew up.

            • by Khyber ( 864651 )

              Most large LCD screens don't use a CCFL, they use a T4 or T5 HO lamp. That's what's in my 32" Samsung LCD, I've had to replace the tube a couple of times and next time I'm ripping out the inverter, replacing it with a DC power supply and tossing a pair of LED tubes in instead.

        • by Khyber ( 864651 )

          LCD doesn't use phosphors. The LED backlighting almost certainly does, but it's based on quantum-dot phoshor tech which is much more reliable in maintaining color temps.

      • Re:Tit for tat (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @06:28PM (#36859344)

        This would be the first device built in the last decade that lasts longer than ones built 30 years ago.

        Face it, we're in a world of throwaway electronics. The ancient ones here might remember how our parents sent the TV for repairs every now and then and how we had the same TV from the moment we start noticing that there is a TV 'til about puberty or beyond. Today, you'll be hard pressed to find any kind of electronics that survive 5 years or more.

        • thank you. its almost exactly what I just typed, a minute ago.

          yes, we grew up with our 25" 'console tv' that was in the living room and it was there for much of my childhood (70's and 80's). we had another tv in the family room and that was a 10year or longer lasting set, probably closer to 15.

          replace some tubes, shoot some tuner cleaner and rotate the mechanical set of coils and contacts and you're good. maybe throw that tuner clear stuff in the analog pots, too.

          but that was when things were designed to

          • but that was when things were designed to be fixable! and fixable by regular people, too.

            And that's the problem, isn't it? It's not that we're in a throw-away society, it's that companies realized that if they designed products to fail on a shorter timeline, and could incrementally improve products in small enough amounts to always be able to take advantages in lowering production costs on older models with slight alterations, they could make a lot more money. Except if you kept fixing it. That was the monkey wrench in the cake. They can't make you buy a new one if it's a simple fix to repair t

            • The 'problem' is not that repair has gotten more expensive. It's that replacement has gotten far cheaper. Believe it or not, trouble-shooting electronics has always been labor intensive.
          • Re:Tit for tat (Score:4, Informative)

            by plover ( 150551 ) * on Saturday July 23, 2011 @09:40PM (#36860178) Homepage Journal

            There are a lot more attributes than longevity and maintainability.

            There's quality. You're comparing the 525 interlaced lines of SDTV with the 1080 progressive scan lines of an HDTV. You can claim "it's just a TV, it worked fine for all those years", but in reality, the image was substantially worse than HDTV. And with a 16:9 aspect ratio, you see the original movie without the funky pan-and-scan reediting needed to shift perspective to the most important on-screen action.

            Price is important: your $400 25" TV set from 1970 cost the equivalent of $2,300 in 2011 dollars. You can get a 26" LCD today for about $200. Even if you replaced one every two years, the LCD is still cheaper.

            For efficiency, the tubes powering your hundred pound 25" CRT TV probably drew 300-400 watts while on. Many TVs of the 1970s had "instant on", meaning the filaments of the tubes were kept hot while the TV was "off", drawing perhaps sixty watts of standby current. That feature also led to premature burnout of filaments, requiring more frequent tube replacement. Today's 26" LCD weighs less than 20 pounds, and draws 26 watts while on.

            As far as availability goes, well, in 1970 your choice was CRT or nothing. CRTs obviously win in that comparison.

            Safety wise, of that hundred pounds of 25" TV set, about 40 pounds of it was lead. The circuit boards were soldered with lead. The entire inside of the back half of the tube, everything but the front screen, was either lined with lead or made with leaded glass in order to catch the electrons after they had excited the phosphors on the front. The phosphors themselves were often made with cadmium. The picture tubes leaked small amounts of X-Ray radiation to its viewers. And when damaged, the picture tubes could implode, causing a glass shrapnel hazard, not to mention the huge static charge the flyback transformers generated inside the tubes.

            Environmentally, it wasn't until this century that the EPA required they be kept from landfills, meaning the older landfills and junkyards (built before modern containment landfills were invented) will remain filled with every TV disposed of from the 1940s through the 1990s. Once broken, the lead-lined CRTs will readily leach lead into the environment. The leaded glass may leach much more slowly, but it still does leach over time. Older LCD TVs have cold cathode fluorescent tubes containing a bit of mercury vapor, while newer ones are using LEDs for illumination. A RoHS compliant LCD TV is not going to risk damaging the environment nearly as much as a CRT.

            Even if it seems like they were "built to last", they delivered a much lower-quality product wrapped in a dangerous and highly toxic shell, at ten times the price.

            Longevity may be a desirable attribute, but it's certainly not the only important attribute.

            • Re:Tit for tat (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @11:05PM (#36860428)

              Given the way technology "progresses" (or, rather, regresses) I'd say that longevity becomes a more and more interesting asset in an appliance. Why? Because newer does not necessarily mean better. More and more, it means "with less features and more lockdown".

              What's perverted in today's technology is that the flaws are actually desirable for the customer. Because they allow jailbreaking and unlocking, because they allow "leaking" the content to a recording device and media shifting, something the devices should disallow. What's even more backwards is that a device that has flaws will sell better than a "perfect" one. Because it allows the user what he wants. It's in the interest of device makers to include flaws in their machines that allow the leaks mentioned. Think about it: If device A has the flaw and device B does not, which one do you buy?

              It's a given that later versions of the same device will have this flaw fixed. Without a chance to undo that fix. Can you imagine how people have a lot of interest in retaining their old device that allows them more than a new device with those options disabled?

              • Re:Tit for tat (Score:4, Informative)

                by plover ( 150551 ) * on Sunday July 24, 2011 @01:00AM (#36860716) Homepage Journal

                Product lockdown is a very specialized argument that sort-of applies to a very few specific pieces of old gear, such as phones that trade some functions in exchange for funneling all your money through Apple. But it has little to do with television sets or other products.

                If you're going to work so hard to find a specific example where longevity is somehow "good" because it trades some fairly insignificant features for some other fairly insignificant features; you should know it's a lot easier to find many, many counter examples where product longevity seriously increases your risk of injury or death.

                Any car built in the 1970s is far less safe than its modern counterparts, thanks to safety improvements made over time. If you are still driving a 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass (on the off chance it didn't rust through by 1980), a head-on collision is much more likely to ram a steering wheel column through your chest than a modern car. Or it's going to crush you inside the passenger compartment, instead of absorbing the energy in computer-designed crumple zones. Or it's going to smash you hard against the dashboard, instead of against a collapsing airbag cushion triggered by a computer chip. Even if that car had amazing longevity of the mechanical components, its safety over time never improved. Cars built in the 80s and 90s were much improved, as their crash survivability was improved. Cars built in the previous decade were better, because they had safety features that helped maintain control in an accident. Cars built in the current decade are even better still, with active systems to help the driver avoid the accidents in the first place.

                If you bought a prescription for Vioxx in 2002, do you think it would be a good thing to have stocked up on a lifetime supply of pills? What about buying a drum of long-lasting DDT? Or painting your rooms with gallons of lead paint, because it's so much more durable than latex? Insulating your house with asbestos, the miracle fiber that didn't degrade or rot? At what point did your durable 1970s TV stop emitting X-Ray radiation at its viewers? Does your 1970s vacuum cleaner with its cloth bag filter out harmful particulates, or just recirculate them into your lungs?

                Any building erected a decade after another building has had its safety improved by improvements to codes and in building materials and construction practices. The newer the building, the more its occupants are protected against fires, flood, mold, radon, toxins, and/or collapse.

                All those old products were shown to cause much more physical harm than their modern counterparts. Longevity simply means you are exposed to more risks over their lifetimes instead of replacing them with safer alternatives.

                Closer to your contrived cell phone example, a cell phone from 1991 emitted 600mW of RF energy right next to your skull. Depending on what studies you read, there may or may not be a correlation to cell phone usage and brain cancer. Modern phones are more limited in the amount of energy they're permitted to radiate. The ability to use earbuds and headphones to move the radiation even further away from your brain is now a common option that was not even present on your 1997 Nokia, yet you are claiming that phones like it are somehow better than an iPhone because they're older and lasted longer.

                The bottom line is still very simple: longevity does not automatically make a product better. Longevity is not the only attribute you should consider if you're trying to determine quality.

                • A drum of DDT, assuming it is still potent, would be worth more now than in the 70s due to the ban. Contrary to what most people think, DDT doesn't harm humans. It was banned due to its effects on birds.

                  Likewise, while asbestos caused lung disease if you get exposed to it, it actually is very effective at preventing fires.

                  My old landlord would love to find a box of Vioxx lying around, since only Vioxx and morphine worked for his arthritis of the spine, and morphine makes him sleep 2/3rds of the day.

                  His apar

            • by Khyber ( 864651 )

              "And with a 16:9 aspect ratio, you see the original movie without the funky pan-and-scan reediting needed to shift perspective to the most important on-screen action."

              Actually, you see less still. Film is done typically in 1.85:1 or 2.39:1, which is wider than a 16:9.

        • Did they also mention that a 21" TV (which was mostly bezel...) in the 50s cost closer to two month's salary? Compare that to the two days salary for a 21" viewable screen you'd pay today...

        • by toby ( 759 )
          I use Macs that are more than 5 years old, and frankly I'd be surprised if they weren't working in another 20. Mac G5 and Mac Pro (and unibody laptops) are built like tanks. The fans will wear out eventually, but the quality of fans in Macintoshes is better than that in PC (because Apple's reputation depends on it), and you can get spares. Obviously the disks won't last that long, but nobody would be so stupid as to throw out a computer when the disk dies... would they?
        • by DrXym ( 126579 )

          This would be the first device built in the last decade that lasts longer than ones built 30 years ago.

          Rose tinted glasses. I doubt there is anyone above a certain age who hasn't had a CRT TV or monitor go on the blink in one way or another, either losing sync, becoming magnetized, burned in, or otherwise becoming kaput. I can certainly recall whacking a few TVs which went on the blink.

          Perhaps there are examples still going which survived these long years but I don't believe for a second that a 1980's TV was any more reliable than a modern LCD, or that it lasted longer thereafter either. It may be fair to

        • by brunes69 ( 86786 )

          The reason your parents sent a TV for repairs had a lot less to do with how well they were built, than how much TVs cost (WRT someone's salary). A TV used to be a MAJOR PURCHASE - along the likes of an appliance. When my parents bought a new 27 inch set back in '91, they spent $499. I remember this price because I went to help them pick it up. Nowadays you can get a very decent 42" set for $400. That's a way better set, for 20% LESS money, despite over 20 years of inflation.

          TVs are comparatively cheap nowa

      • you must be young ;)

        tv's that were crt based lasted 10 and more years. show me someone who still uses an lcd after even 5. all my lcd's show more ghosting and wear over 5 yrs than my old tv's used to.

        tv's also didn't have stuck pixels and refresh problems. tv's pretty much 'just plain worked' for decades and decades.

        • by gmack ( 197796 )

          That was before and they have gotten cheaper in the meantime. My last CRT TV didn't even last 5 years before it had problems and I've had some CRT monitors die after 1 year.

          • It's the cheaper boards and components that fail, not the CRT tubes themselves. As they go down-market, they are no longer made with "solid state" boards.
            • by Narmi ( 161370 )
              Do you know what solid state means? It generally means that the circuit uses transistors instead of vacuum tubes. I'm pretty sure all TVs use transistors today.
        • I have a lab of 50 of them. They are 11 years old now. They were just replaced, but not because they are being taken out of service. They are going to replace CRTs in other parts of the department. They all function perfectly. Their brightness has faded, but that's all.

        • all my lcd's show more ghosting and wear over 5 yrs than my old tv's used to.

          Ghosting on an LCD is a TEMPORARY issue, which is trivially easy to completely reverse. The ghosting on your CRTs is permanent and irreversible.

          As for "wear", I have no idea what you're talking about. If you mean physical, then yes, plastic can be scratched more easily than glass, but that's a problem that can be fixed, too.

          tv's also didn't have stuck pixels and refresh problems.

          Actually, TVs did get dead pixels. The phosphor ma

        • by IrquiM ( 471313 )
          My 42" LCD is over 4 years, and has probably been on for half of those - picture is as good now as it was when I bought it. Only reason to upgrade is that I want LED back-light strips and bigger screen area.
      • Re:Tit for tat (Score:5, Informative)

        by Moridineas ( 213502 ) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @06:45PM (#36859454) Journal

        I bought a Samsung LNT4069 tv about 3-4 years ago. Within 2 years of buying it, it completely died...wouldn't turn on. Luckily the problem was busted caps and after a trip to *3* different radio shacks (er, "The Shacks") to find the proper capacitors I was easily able to replace them and the TV is still working perfectly today.

        Most people would not be able to fix that kind of problem. Most people would not take their tv to a repair shop anymore (doesn't make sense most of the time). Most people who have ANY kid of electronics failure are just going to ditch the device. Doesn't matter that the technology should inherently be longer lasting, one shoddy cap is all it takes. Shoddy caps are no rarity today!!

        • Now there's my kind of hardware hacker. I've brought motherboards and power supplies back from the dead with repairs like that. Yes, it's a shame that newer electronic devices and even their components are built to such poor standards.

          • I've brought motherboards and power supplies back from the dead with repairs like that.

            I wonder if it's just a coincidence, but my repairs have also been mainly motherboards and power supplies. As opposed to displays, for example my 2004 LCD monitor is doing great, and I only bought it to replace a smaller CRT that was alive and well.

            My particular gripe is with power bricks; replacing caps is the easy part, after you've pried open the glue seams, and then you have to glue it back together. I wouldn't bother with any random power bricks, but the ones around 100 W that you use with PicoPSU a

        • by antdude ( 79039 )

          If it is under warranty, then have that fixed (send a repair guy to fix it for free).

          As for shoddy caps, have their been any improvements on this? I am getting sick of these cap problems! :(

        • I just extended the life of a few more 10/100/1g switches by replacing all the electro's, just all of them, whether they are visibly bulged or not. placed an order for 'low ESR' caps from digikey, mouser or similar place, unsolder the older, install new and you now can *count* on that gear working 7x24 for the next 5-10 yrs. no kidding. brand name known good caps will do that. the rest of the design is usually fine, its the caps (with the 'vent seals' on top, those are what you look for) are where most

        • Samsung uses poor quality Chinese capacitors (yeah, I know, that's an tautology) that are practically designed to fail just outside the warranty period (e.g. the notorious CapXon). This is a scandalous waste, and Samsung is doing it deliberately since better parts are available.

          When they overheat, bulge and ooze, causing well known failure modes, you can easily replace them with higher quality parts - this site has the details. []

          I'm in the process of repairing two Samsung 225bw screens that were thrown at

      • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

        heh its the back light that gets you every time

      • by 1u3hr ( 530656 )

        But pixel mapped displays should last longer than scanning tubes. The electron guns, valves and other components in a CRT display degraded over time.

        My CRT TV is well over 10 years old. 20 years is not uncommon for CRT TVs to be still working reliably. I only upgraded my 1999 17" Studio Display CRT monitor last year when it finally gave out. (And the problem could probably have been fixed with a bit of soldering, but cost more a new LCD monitor.)

        CRT is a very mature technology. It's pretty reliable. Only the high humidity here kills a lot of electronics causing condensation and shorts and mould, and bugs.....

    • Re:Tit for tat (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @06:01PM (#36859202)

      Not to mention, CRTs last a hell of a long time. My parents still have a CRT in the household that runs just fine after at least twenty-five years. Most LCDs only have a short warranty and there are a lot of parts that will simply fail over a much shorter period of time than a CRT (like the backlight). In the lifespan of that one CRT, I would expect to go through at least three LCDs based on lifespan alone (not counting the greater frequency of replacement due to technology improvements/shifts/etc). So when it comes down to it, you're probably looking at just as much waste for the same period of time.

      • Most LCDs only have a short warranty and there are a lot of parts that will simply fail over a much shorter period of time than a CRT (like the backlight).

        They're mostly selling LED backlit systems now for both TVs and Computers (and phones and notebooks and tablets, etc). The two monitors that are part of my desktop of LED and over a year old (and were cheap already).

        I'd say the weight savings in the summary is understated going forward. My monitors are much lighter than the old flat ones, let alone CRT.

      • Not to mention, CRTs last a hell of a long time. My parents still have a CRT in the household that runs just fine after at least twenty-five years.

        It runs just fine, but it's dim as hell with poor contrast, right?

      • by antdude ( 79039 )

        Yep, my old 20" Sharp CRT TV is still kicking arse from 1996. The only thing broken is its power button on it. Its old remote control still works. I am curious how much longer this baby has left. I will replace/upgrade my TV when it dies or starts having problems. I also still have my VCR from dotcom days too.

      • by IrquiM ( 471313 )
        Buy LCDs sold in Europe. Here in Norway we've got 5 years warranty against manufacturing issues, so they'll have to be built to last! Keep away from the nonames.
    • CRT televisions also have a few pounds of lead in them, don't they? I wonder how much of that is taken out before it reaches the landfill.

      • But the lead is inside the crystal matrix of the glass. Its locked in there and short of refining it in a furnace its not coming out.

        • by plover ( 150551 ) *

          But the lead is inside the crystal matrix of the glass. Its locked in there and short of refining it in a furnace its not coming out.

          Not always. Only the newer CRTs were made with leaded glass. Lots of the older CRTs were made with a plain glass envelope with a lead coating on the inside. Once that tube is broken, the raw lead is directly exposed to the environment.

          • by ajlitt ( 19055 )

            Not to mention all the pre-RoHS leaded solder gracing the big fat solder points on those flyback bearing PCBs. I don't think many CRTs were manufactured with "unleaded" solder if any at all.

    • Not to mention the LCD TV is mostly glass anyhow, which is kind of fascinating. But they're only going to get thinner as time goes on. To the point where it'll be a sheet 1 mm in thickness. The power supply will be the biggest piece of the unit.
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      Crushed and submerged in water, leaded glass will not leech

      Now where did you get that one? If you are going to throw absolutes around you should never pretend that very slow is equal to zero. It's a glass and not a stable structure, plus lead diffuses fairly quickly.
      I think the article has things backwards anyway. The true benefit is using less stuff to start with (for instance there is a lot of copper in those CRTs). Throwing less away comes from that.
      Now as for the increased danger from materials such

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @06:14PM (#36859264)
    This summary seems to be a rather misleading collection of confused data.

    So far as electronics goes, the main board is pretty much the same. The power supply is less beefy, due to not having to provide an EHT supply, though there is an inverter which to some extent takes its place. The CRT is mostly just glass - lots and lots of glass so that doesn't add much to the electronics waste and may have just as many toxic chemicals in it as the CCFLs and TFT of a flat-screen TV.

    So, on balance I doubt that there's much in it on a unit-by-unit basis. One thing that does seem to me is that CRT TVs last longer than LCD ones. Our CRTs were bought in the early 90s and only tossed when they were replaced - still working. However, the lifespan of an LCD TV doesn't appear to be much longer than a few years, driven often by the limited number of hours that the CCFLs run for, or the fragility of the screens. Since they're not economic to repair, an LCD TV becomes waste much sooner than a CRT TV ever did.

  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @06:29PM (#36859348) Homepage

    You know what else creates less e-waste? Hanging on to your perfectly good older TV instead of buying a newer, bigger TV every time the electronics companies bring them to market. Oh, but let me guess: I bet a 3-D LED TV saves the planet even more than the regular, 2-D kind, right?

    • Well, I went to an LCD on my desktop after moving 3 times in one year,the old 22" flat panels were way heavy. In the living room, it's when I started into using an HTPC, and gifted the 32" to my grandmother, which she is still using. Not everyone upgrades just because they can... in fact I know far fewer that do, than I know who don't.
    • by heypete ( 60671 ) <> on Saturday July 23, 2011 @06:56PM (#36859518) Homepage

      Perhaps, but there's other factors to consider. For example, technology improves: I have a 1920x1080 22" LCD monitor or this computer. It is much more useful to me than an old 800x600 CRT or even my 19" 1280x1024 LCD monitor I purchased in 2003 (it's dimmed and gotten a bit yellow over the years).

      In addition to improved technology, a lot of newer devices use considerably less resources to manufacture and operate. The electricity costs of running a CRT monitor or TV are much greater than that of an LCD monitor or TV of comparable size. I'm not sure about plasma, but I don't have such displays here.

      Yes, there's a lot of e-waste and people should definitely waste less, but there are several compelling reasons to upgrade equipment over time.

      • My parents have two tube TV sets, never replaced them with LCDs. They are very old, both over 20 years. One is starting to go out, it is losing focus rather badly. I don't know how long it has, but it is going to die and they'll have to replace it if they want to have a TV there. Things don't last forever not even stuff from "the good old days".

        I don't plan on replacing my HDTV with a new one, it works fine and if I do get a new TV, the old one will move to another room. However it will not last forever. So

    • You know what else creates less e-waste? Hanging on to your perfectly good older TV instead of buying a newer, bigger TV every time the electronics companies bring them to market.

      Did you type this on your five year old computer?

      • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

        Did you type this on your five year old computer?

        No, but I'd guess it's at least three years old. It's a Core 2 Quad running at 2.4GHz ... those chips came out in 2007 and I got mine a little later... anyway, seems fine for my needs.

  • How much is that in football fields?
    • How much is that in football fields?

      it's 12 square buses, or 3.1 olympic sized swimming pools - though I don't know how many of them you'd have to lay end-to-end to get to the moon.

  • "The report claimed that an old 36-inch CRT TV generated about the same amount of electronics waste as 5,080 cell phones. However, today's 70-inch flat-screen TV generate the equivalent of just 953 cell phones."

    A 36 inch CRT? I think a 24 inch CRT would be a more reasonable size set for comparison...

    A 70 inch flat-screen? Most people lose the ability to relate to a set over 40-42 inches.....

    Who's throwing out a 70 inch flat screen TV?

  • In the Business (Score:5, Informative)

    by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Saturday July 23, 2011 @09:03PM (#36860034) Homepage Journal

    (Cracks knuckles).... First, the CRTs themselves last a long time (and apparently survive heat waves better). More recently, many of the CRT TV are assembled with cheaper tuner boards and speakers, etc., are not "solid state". The failure to last longer was not the cathode ray tube's fault, and most CRTs exported are rebuilt with a new board (see article on exports of used CRT tubes []). So while the Cathode Ray Tubes themselves last much longer than the LCDs fluorescent lamps (don't know about LED), as the CRT market went downscale, quality suffered, and e-waste may increase if we are not allowed to re-export them to have those tunerboards replaced (the same factories which assembled them buy them back, but that's increasingly illegal because Americans assume the factories are paying $10 apiece and then burning them).

    What is incredible at our Vermont "e-waste" recycling plant are the number of flat TVs coming in with a small impact crack in the corner. They are called "Wii Screens" by the staff. Apparently, people "bowling" and doing other arcade stuff on the games tend to forget to attach the wrist strap. So the E-Waste jury is still out - the CRT TVs are heavier, but if they have solid state boards will last longer, and they deflect flying plastic "ewaste" satellite gadgets.

    So regarding TFA, the moral is that the "ewaste" volume is not going down, but the "ewaste" export we were worried about was not as bad as we thought it was in the first place.

    Finally, if the CEA and industry was really concerned, they'd make the LCDs so you could replace the LCD and the fluorescent lamps. The LCD screens appear to us to be designed to make that virtually impossible.

    • tend to forget to attach the wrist strap.

      Or they may still have an early wrist strap. The initial wiimote wrist straps were clearly based on a camera wrist strap and the cord that attaches the strap to the wiimote was not strong enough to provide protection against accidental throwing. A second generation of wrist strap with a much thicker attatchment cord was produced and Nintendo offered a replacement program but many people may not be aware of it. []

      There now seems to be a third version of the wrist

  • All the CRTs that were ever made in the western world are now landfill

    I doubt that a large proportion of those resources are being shredded up for re-use to make new flat screens.

  • What do these figures look like if you take into acocunt the lifespans/years of use of CRTs vs new TVs? Do LCDs/whatevers tend to last as long in service as CRTs, and do we even know yet? If they are discarded much sooner then any savings might be lost. Just wondering, since LCD TV backlights don't last forever (and most people seem to throw away rather than repair broken TVs), and I've seen tons of very old CRT televisions in use. Is a 1:1 ratio of CRTs:LCDs correct? Are there more TVs/monitors per person
  • "The report claimed that an old 36-inch CRT TV generated about the same amount of electronics waste as 5,080 cell phones. However, today's 70-inch flat-screen TV generate the equivalent of just 953 cell phones."

    Can we get that in a more standard unit like football fields or Library of Congresses

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