Recycle Waste From TV Screens For Medical Purposes

by Tanya Thomas on Jul 16 2009 10:13 AM

Waste material from discarded televisions can be made useful for medical purposes, University of York scientists say, by recycling them.

The researchers say that they have found a way to recover the chemical compound polyvinyl-alcohol (PVA) from television screens, and transform it into a substance which could be suitable for use in tissue scaffolds which help parts of the body regenerate.

They reckon that it could also be used in pills and dressings that are designed to deliver drugs to particular parts of the body.

Professor James Clark, director of the York Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence and one of the author's of the research, said: "With 2.5 billion liquid crystal displays already reaching the end of their life, and LCD televisions proving hugely popular with consumers, that is a huge amount of potential waste to manage."

He added: "It is important that we find ways of recycling as many elements of LCDs as possible so we don't simply have to resort to burying and burning them."

Describing their technique in an article published the journal Green Chemistry, the researchers have revealed that they heat recovered material in water in a microwave, and then wash it in ethanol to produce "expanded PVA".

Given that this material does not provoke a response from the human immune system, the researchers say that it may be suitable for use in biomedicine.