Digital deadline: Where will the old televisions go?

By Municipal Association of South Carolina

The federal government delayed the digital television transition from February to June. When the transition is made, analog television sets (those with an antenna) will no longer work. Municipal public works crews may see an increase of these sets along their sanitation routes or dumped in vacant lots.
While the federal Environmental Protection Agency says it is safe to discard television sets in a properly managed landfill, it strongly recommends recycling to promote resource conservation. Some states and municipalities have banned these sets from landfills to reduce the high costs and health risks associated with handling such materials.
The cathode ray tube in every oldstyle television set contains four to eight pounds of potentially brain-damaging lead. When the set is crushed in the garbage truck or in the landfill, there is a potential for the lead to leach out.
If your municipality does not have an e-cycling program in place, there are some alternatives to offer to residents.
• Search through Earth 911's database ( of recycling, disposal, and donation alternatives. Just enter your ZIP code and get a list of options instantly, or look through the Electronic Industries Alliance list of e-cycling resources. ( recycler/index.php?state=SC)
• Some retailers and manufacturers, like Best Buy and Sony, offer recycling programs. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency's list of participating e-cycling companies (www.epa. gov/epawaste/conserve/materials/ ecycling/index.htm) to find out what's available in your area.
• Check with local charities. The Earth 911 and Electronic Industries Alliance searches include some nonprofits that accept used working TVs, but if you can't find any in your area, try calling local thrift stores to ask if they will take television sets or know who will. Pass along the information to your residents.
Information from Yahoo! Green.
Reprinted with permission from the Municipal Association of South Carolina.


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