The Government has played down talk of a television mountain next summer but admitted some will be illegally landfilled.
Members of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) appeared flustered as they fielded questions on the potential crisis.
The Hazardous Waste Directive bans TVs from standard landfill sites from July 2005, yet the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive does not set recycling targets until December 2006.
And Wastelink director of environmental services Peter Gaffney insisted that this gap would lead to a build up of TVs and monitors that could not be disposed of.
Gaffney told delegates at the MRW-organised Recycling Retail Waste conference: Given that TVs will be classified as hazardous waste, and there are no cathode ray tube recycling facilities, we are likely to see a TV mountain.
DEFRA head of hazardous waste policy Andy Howarth replied: Cathode-ray tubes are technically on the hazardous-waste list but I dont think we will see a TV mountain.
It is possible that some TVs will be exported for recycling, and I think a few will sneak into landfill sites. It is not to be condoned but it is likely to happen.
DEFRA head of producer responsibility Sheila McKinley added: I hope all talk of mountains will end here.