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Challenge Seeks Answers for Recycling Cathode Ray Tubes

Old television (Michael Pereckas/Flickr)A new challenge on InnoCentive seeks proposals for recycling the lead in glass found in old cathode ray tubes (CRTs) into new products. The competition, sponsored by Consumer Electronics Association and Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, has a prize of $10,000 and a deadline of 1 July 2013.

InnoCentive in Waltham, Massachusetts conducts open-innovation, crowd-sourcing competitions for corporate and organization sponsors. InnoCentive calls this kind of competition a theoretical challenge that requires a written proposal.

The sponsors are interested in ideas for reusing the glass in CRTs, which until the popularity of flat-screen monitors in recent years, were the main video display technology for computers and televisions. The glass in CRTs has substantial amounts of lead, and Consumer Electronics Association — the main sponsor of the challenge — is particularly eager for ideas that are both  financially viable and environmentally conscious to reuse the lead in the glass in a way that generates an economic return.

A New York Times article last month points out the scope of the problem. Until flat-screen monitors became popular, old CRTs could be recycled into new CRTs, but since there is little demand now for new CRTs, old devices are piling up posing a growing environmental risk.

In November 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency issued guidelines it hopes will simplify recycling rules for old CRTS, but the new rules are apparently not meeting the need. In February, according to the New York Times, the Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse asked EPA for more help in dealing with the growing piles of CRT glass.

In addition providing a $10,000 prize, the challenge sponsors may also collaborate further with contestants proposing solutions the sponsors find promising. Award winners will need to grant sponsors a non-exclusive license to develop the ideas in the proposals, but the winners will not need to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the sponsors.

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Photo: Michael Pereckas/Flickr

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1 comment to Challenge Seeks Answers for Recycling Cathode Ray Tubes

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