European project recycles television and computer screens into building materials

The European Eco Tv project has developed an innovative way of recycling the highly polluting components found in television and computer screens and turning them into such materials as ceramic
floor tiles.

Over the last few years, flat screens and plasma displays have increased in popularity and gradually replaced cathode ray tube televisions and computer monitors in millions of households and
businesses.

This technological shift has lead to major environmental concerns. As one United Nations University study found recently, electronic waste is set to rise from 10.3 to 12.3 million tonnes per
year from 2005 to 2020 within the EU 27.

With this in mind, the researchers behind Eco Tv embarked on a project to recycle highly polluting electronic waste materials such as lead, barium and strontium, giving them a new lease of
life, and helping to prevent the spread of landfills.

The project addresses the guidelines set out by several EU Directives, including the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. This Directive places the responsibility for the
disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) with the equipment manufacturers. It also compels these companies to use the waste in an ecologically-friendly manner, either by
ecological disposal or reuse.

The project, lead by the Provincial Council of Valencia in collaboration with the Valencian Construction Technology Institute (AIDICO) and E-misszió Environmental Association (Hungary),
is currently half way through its two year duration.

The first results to come out of the project include ceramic tiles and resin based materials which could be applied to cement as an insulating component and a construction material.

Although at this stage the project is focusing exclusively on the ‘Ecoparks’ found in the Province of Valencia, the project partners hope that in the future it could evolve into a larger scale
project employed in many European centres specialising in collecting, sorting and recycling urban waste.

Eco Tv is a subproject of the Regional Framework Operation (RFO) Perspective 2007-2013 and is co-financed by the European Union through the interregional cooperation programme Interreg IIIC
South.

The initiative aims at establishing a strategy that can plan the joint use of Structural Funds in four regions of the European Union: Saxony-Anhalt (Germany), Central Region (France), Northern
Great Plain (Hungary) and Valencian Region (Spain).

The results of the Eco Tv project were presented on 13 November in Valencia at a seminar entitled ‘New challenges in electrical and electronic waste management’.

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