How-To: Seeing Clearly

How to recycle your TV
by Samantha Wittchen


My television is older than I am. When I was younger, my best friend called it “The TV From Outer Space” because it has that mid ’70s space-age look. My sister, who lives with me, hates the thing. So, when the digital television transition became imminent, she was all but salivating at the prospect of us finally getting a new TV. Much to her dismay, we got a spiffy new converter box instead.
 
However, plenty of Philadelphians will opt for another route—replacing their analog televisions with digital ones—when we reach the extended digital transition deadline on June 12. Should you choose to go that route, it is extremely important that you recycle your old television. A typical cathode ray tube TV contains two to eight pounds of lead, in addition to other toxins like cadmium and beryllium, which should not end up in a landfill where they can leach into the groundwater supply. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 18 percent of scrapped televisions are currently recycled.

Finding a responsible recycler can be difficult. According to TakeBackMyTV.com, run by a coalition of nonprofit groups promoting responsible recycling in the electronics industry, most electronic waste collected in the U.S. for recycling is exported to developing countries for primitive “recycling” that causes damage due to improper handling and contamination of the surrounding environment. Some television manufacturers, such as Sony, Samsung and LG, have implemented take-back programs to collect and responsibly recycle your unwanted TV. TakeBackMyTV.com is an excellent resource for comprehensive information on these programs, participating manufacturers, other responsible recyclers and drop-off locations.

The biggest difficulty for Philadelphians is that many of these responsible recyclers are not located in the immediate area. For a $10 fee per television, Magnum Computer Recycling in Westville, NJ accepts plastic televisions (no old-style console TVs) for recycling. The Philadelphia Streets Department also collects TVs at their Household Hazardous Waste events, as well as year-round (8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday–Saturday) at the following Sanitation Convenience Sites:  State Rd. & Ashburner St., Domino Ln. & Umbria St., and 3033 S. 63rd St. Magnum Computer Recycling, magnum-llc.us; Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Event, Sat., June 27, Northwest Transfer Station, Domino Ln. & Umbria St., phila.gov/streets/hazardous_waste.html