Green Business Bureau Blog


HDTV Environmental Concerns

June 19, 2010 | By: GBB | No Comments on HDTV Environmental Concerns

On June 12, 2009, the long awaited High Definition Digital TV (HDTV) transition became a reality in the United States. Those who complied early were able to enjoy watching TV while those who haven’t are left silenced inside homes where there is no signal for analog TV sets.

In light of this new development, many will purchase digital TV’s. The effect – a lot of e-waste will be created. Analog TV’s will be thrown out without any use for it. Some TV manufacturers have not any created mechanisms to recycle old models into productive ones. The depressing news is millions of analog TV’s will become non-biodegradable junks which will result into tons and tons of environmental waste in the country and yes, all over the world. This is despite the fact that many states and localities have banned TVs from landfills. One TV set contains eight pounds of lead. When a TV is crushed inside a garbage truck, lead is sure to leak out.

Environmentalists say that your TV is the most toxic thing at home. That is why there is a good reason why Green Business Bureau among other environmental groups is alarmed with this possible scenario.

This point is highly stressed by Barbara Kyle National Coordinator for Electronics Take Back Coalition. She states:

“With the upcoming digital TV conversion looming before us, many people don’t know where to take their old TVs… There are some responsible manufactures and retailers who offer take back programs, but unfortunately not all — including market leader Vizio.”

The good news is more and more states have created Recycling Laws in response to the long announced TV conversion. Some states offer best practices on recycling old TV sets. Among these states include California, Maine and Maryland. California imposes $6 to $10 on top of actual price to buyers of TV sets and computer monitors. The funds generated from this program are channeled into recycling programs. Maine has a centralized consolidation point where consumers can drop off their old TV sets or computer monitors. In exchange, they are required to pay as much as $5 in support of Maine’s recycles program. Maryland takes $5000 initial registration fee among startup business within the State to facilitate recycling. The fee will be automatically reduced to $500 in the succeeding years if the company will initiate take back programs. Although this scheme is originally designed for computer monitors, there is no doubt that the State will include TV sets in its program with the HDTV developments.

Electronic Take Back Program recently published a report entitled “2009 TV Companies Report Card.” The report states that there are now six TV manufacturers and two retailers that have started implementing take back programs. Interestingly so, the report have “graded” TV manufacturers in terms of their efforts to ward off environmental threat particularly in light of the HDTV transition.  Tied at first honours are Sony and Samsung with a B-, seconded by Best Buy and Wal-Mart retailers with C+ and third placers with C grade include LG, Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba. Among those who failed and received an F grade consists of Funai, Hitachi, JVC, Mitsubishi, Philips, Sanyo, Target, Thomson, Westinghouse and yes, including the No.1 TV manufacturer Vizio.

Grade passers are setting out good examples among others who continue to act deaf amidst calls for recycling and take back programs. It makes sense for consumers to support and patronize TV manufacturers who demonstrates stake in overall environmental initiatives.


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