Thursday, November 27, 2008

Zombie (Undead) Toxic Televisions

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What are we suppose to do with our old pre HD TV's on February 17 2009? Check out this website for the Zombie TV Video.

On February 17, 2009, television stations will throw the switch, and stop sending out analog TV signal in the United States. On that date, the millions of people who receive “over the air” TV signal (as opposed to cable or satellite subscribers) must have a TV capable of receiving digital signal, or their TVs will go dark. Consumers can purchase set-top boxes that convert digital signal into an analog signal (that they can view on their old televisions). But the set top box option isn’t being promoted strongly by an industry that wants consumers to simply discard their old televisions and replace them with new ones.

Consumers are trashing working televisions

The digital conversion is leading consumers to get rid of their old analog televisions, even though many still work. While the rule of thumb used to be that consumers would demote older televisions to some other room in the house, we are now seeing a change in consumer behavior. When they replace their big, old, clunky cathode ray tube TVs (and the big piece of furniture holding them up) with sleeker flat panel TVs, which they can hang on the wall, many are simply getting rid of the older TVs altogether. So while the set-top converter box is a viable option, for some consumers this digital signal conversion is the tipping point for replacing their older TVs. That’s why the FCC DTV rule is the largest government mandated obsolescence initiative in U.S. history. And this mandate is being implemented with very little attention to helping affected consumers avoid the expense and difficulty of coping with the transition.

Why This is So Important: Old TVs Are Toxic E-Waste

TVs contain toxic materials, like lead, cadmium, and beryllium, that don’t belong in the landfill. The old CRT TVs contain an average of 4 to 8 pounds of lead. While it’s still legal to throw TVs in the trash in most states, it’s not an environmentally sound practice, because the toxic chemicals can leach into groundwater over time. Because only about 15% of e-waste gets recycled, that means most of these old TVs are going into our landfills and incinerators. Most e-waste that is collected for recycling in the U.S. is currently being exported to developing countries for primitive “recycling” where it is causing great damage. Electronic waste sent to China also appears to be a source of a lead used in the lead-tainted jewelry that is manufactured in China and exported to the US.

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