Sunday, April 24, 2016

More Delayed Costs

Old electronics, and especially old Cathode Ray tube televisions, are finally going to demand that the bill for what to do with them, post obsolescence, is now coming due. And as this article makes clear, its expensive. How could it not be when you're talking about poisons like lead, cadmium, beryllium, and mercury.

None of this is actually new, of course. We've know about the problem for a while now. What is interesting here, however, illustrates another example of why market economies can be so prone to not being able to handle such impending disasters.

Initially there was great hope placed in the idea that, because these elements were also commodity metals, their recycle would provide cost effective ways to put them back into production streams so as to pay for keeping them out of the environment. Forgetting for the moment that this is actually no more than punting a problem down the road time wise (while not confronting their continued use in the first place), you still have the problem of what the markets say they are worth, time frame to time frame. And markets being markets, this will always be quite problematic.

And so now they aren't worth nearly enough to offset the difficulty involved to deal with them safely. "Oops... Sorry about that... Guess we didn't see that one coming... Don't think we're going to take this out our profits though. Either tax yourselves to do it right, or go back to burying it in land fills your children, or their children, will have to pay for, one way or another."

Just so we're clear here this is no small problem:

"...There are millions of old CRT televisions tucked away in basements and spare bedrooms across America. In 2015, Americans had around 5 billion pounds worth of CRT TVs in their homes, according to a survey from the Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse (ERCC), a pro-recycling nonprofit organization..."

That's a lot of lead filled glass no one has much need for now. Which makes it not a problem of how we can resell it, but more a problem of how they will sell us on footing the bill, or just ignoring it all as a part of "business as usual."

Old TVs Create Toxic Problem for Recycling Programs Across America

See also:
New Study Predicts an Extra Week of Bad Ozone Every Year

Warmer Planet to Bring More Bad Ozone, Says Study