Recycling Your Television Sets

By Eric Shangraw

July 15, 2010 Updated Nov 12, 2007 at 9:01 PM CDT

The digital age of television will eventually mean the demise of those old-fashioned picture tube TV's.

In February 2009, television broadcasters, like WEEK, will be switching over to digital signals and giving their analog signal back to the Federal Government.

You need to seriously think about how you'll dispose of your old TV after you invest in a digital set.

A trained technician at "Recycling for Illinois" takes apart an old glass picture tube TV. He's wearing a mask just in case the glass tube breaks because it is full of lead. There's value in this old set. The circuit board contains precious metals. The glass will eventually be melted and re-used. And the plastic housing gets bailed and later shredded... used as an aggregate in concrete. This de-manufacturing process is all aimed at keeping old TV's from going into a landfill.

Recycling For Illinois Executive Director Michael Hodge said, "It is an awful legacy for future generations to deal with because those TV's will never decompose. They could potentially seep hazardous materials into the water ground table. It is not a good idea."

Your old TV will still work when broadcasters switch over to a digital-only signal in 15 months, but you'll need a converter box to receive a signal.

However, as the old TV's wear out and are replaced by plasma and LCD sets, many people are expected to just dump them on the curb.

"If it ends up in a landfill, its' going to be there forever. It will never decompose. What a lot of people don't realize is the garbage man won't take a TV if they weight more than 50 pounds, so you can put it on the curb and they won't pick it up."

For a nominal fee, "Recycling for Illinois" will take your old TV and make sure its parts are used again. Last year the not-for profit kept more than 15 tons of televisions from going in the garbage.

If you have an old TV to recycle, you can drop it off this Saturday morning at the Wal-Mart in Morton or Sam's Club in Peoria.

Thirteen to nineteen inch televisions will cost $15. 25-inch TV's and console sets are $20.

Anything that runs on electricity or batteries will be accepted.

To submit a comment on this article, your email address is required. We respect your privacy and your email will not be visible to others nor will it be added to any email lists.