Department of Ecology News Release - November 10, 2008
OLYMPIA – The switch to digital TV broadcasting is coming in February 2009. For most people, that will NOT mean having to purchase a new TV set. If you do get a new television, however, the Washington Department of Ecology encourages you to protect the environment and the public's health by donating or reusing your old set, or safely recycling it.
Congress has ordered all television stations to switch to digital broadcasting ("over the air") in February 2009. However, any TV will continue to work just as before if it is connected to a cable or satellite service.
If you have an older TV and you currently get your programs free (through an antenna or "rabbit ears"), you will need a digital-to-analog converter box.
The Department of Commerce is offering each household up to two $40 coupons for the purchase of digital-to-analog converter boxes. For more information about getting the coupons and the switchover to digital, call 1-888-388-2009 or visit www.dtv2009.gov.
"If digital conversion is the reason to get that high-tech, HDTV or plasma screen you've always been wanting, please think about the fate of the old TV you now consider a ‘has-been'," said Laurie Davies, Ecology's Solid Waste Program manager. "Electronic products contain heavy metals and toxic chemicals. For example, a TV's cathode ray picture tube contains about four to eight pounds of lead."
Making sure electronics like televisions don't end up in the garbage, in landfills and ultimately in the environment is the one way to protect people and the environment from the serious health effects of toxic chemicals.
If your old TV is working and in good condition, someone else may be able to use it. There are several ways to pass on electronic items for reuse:
If the old TV is just too old for reuse, then plan to recycle it responsibly. Beginning Jan. 1, 2009, Washington residents can recycle TVs and computers for free all across the state through the new E-Cycle Washington program.
Under the program, electronics manufacturers will pay for recycling TVs, computers, monitors, and laptops. The law allows households, schools, small businesses, small governments, special-purpose districts, and non-profits to drop off electronics for recycling at one of more than 200 collection sites.
"There will be no need to rush to collection sites on Jan. 2," Davies said. "E-Cycle Washington is a permanent recycling collection program. It will be operating throughout 2009 and beyond."
For those who do not want to wait until Jan. 1 to recycle their TVs or computers — or if you have other items to recycle — contact Ecology's 1-800-RECYCLE (1-800-732-9253) toll-free hotline or go to http://1800recycle.wa.gov/, to find recycling locations in Washington state. These recyclers may charge a fee at this time to accept items for recycling.
Kathy Davis, media relations, 360-407-6149
Miles Kuntz, Solid Waste and Financial Assistance, 360-407-7157
For more information: E-Cycle Washington: http://www.ecyclewashington.org/
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