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Conversion Technologies International Inc. recently began a series of pilot tests to evaluate the effectiveness of disassembling and recycling computer monitors.

The Hazlet, N.J., firm will run the pilot for 18 weeks and will disassemble and recycle 1,500-2,000 units. IBM Corp., Unisys Corp. and another major computer company that the firm would not identify will provide the monitors.

``We will test different approaches using sorting technology developed for different materials,'' said Chairman Harvey Goldman. ``We will also test the technological and economical feasibility of recycling the monitors.''

Some 12 million to 15 million computers are discarded every year, according to Environmental Protection Agency figures. Monitors are 15 percent plastic by weight, or about 3-4 pounds.

About 12 types of plastic will be identified for recycling. Next to the glass cathode ray tube, plastic is the biggest concern with its volume and weight.

``The objective of the pilot test is to evaluate the level and nature of disassembly and processing that yields an acceptable return on investment, is environmentally sensitive, and provides for worker health and safety,'' Goldman said in a news release.

The firm received a $40,000 grant from the state of New York to subsidize processing costs.

Conversion Technologies employs 500. It works with television companies, such as Toshiba America Inc., to recycle cathode ray tubes.

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