Analog to Digital: Making the Switch Responsibly

With the upcoming national switch from analog to digital television (June 12!), waste facilities around the country are expecting an unprecedented dumping of old TVs at their door, as folks jump for sets with digital tuners. Many of these facilities have the capacity to break down televisions into all their parts for recycling (see video at right, and read the accompanying article for more information).

But if your old tube is headed for a facility that doesn’t recycle at this scale, you might want to think twice about dumping all of those toxic heavy metals (lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium) and chemicals (flame retardents) into the ecosystem, or onto a poorer country’s shores.

So, what are your options?

  1. Buy a converter box for your television with a coupon from the U.S. government. This will keep your analog set going after the switch.
  2. Connect to cable, satellite TV, or another pay television service. No switch necessary.
  3. Find out how to give your old TV to a charity or retailer who can use it.
  4. Find out where your TV is headed, and make sure that facility has e-Steward credibility before you send your electronic junk there.
  5. Who needs TV? Whether you pass the set on, ditch it (responsibly), or let it sit and gather dust, maybe now is a good time to give  it up all together and go outside!

PS – Most of these same recycling tips apply to disposal of other electronics, as well. Visit the EPA’s website for more information.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Janice Henderson June 17, 2009 at 9:36 am

I was wondering about that. I like option 4 the best! That’s what we’re doing.

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