Does your TV have an end-of-life plan?

As televisions continue to get bigger, better and significantly cheaper, people are replacing them more often. This means there are a lot of used TVs out there that should be donated or recycled.

Lead, mercury, and PVCs, oh my!

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Whether you’re talking about an old console TV from the 1970s or a modern flat screen, televisions contain many hazardous substances including lead, mercury, brominated flame retardants and polyvinyl chloride. Properly recycling televisions prevents these heavy metals and hazardous materials from ending up in a landfill, harming our environment and endangering public health. Recycling also means that valuable materials such as metals, plastics and glass are extracted and used for new products.

Proper disposal

There are two options for properly disposing of televisions: donation and recycling. Donation is a great option for flat screen TVs that are fairly new and in good working condition. Many charities and thrift stores accept them. Always call first — some do not accept them at all (Goodwill for instance), and those that do have strict criteria.

You can recycle old and non-working televisions of all types and sizes at Best Buy and Midwest Recycling Center.

If you require pick up, your options are more limited. You can call a junk removal service, just be sure and ask if TVs are among the items they recycle and donate. You can also contact your trash hauler to see if they offer bulky-item pickup services that include TVs. Unfortunately, these usually just end up going to the landfill.

Always a fee

Whether you choose pickup or drop-off services, there is always a fee to recycle your television. Fees are charged because of the extra processing TVs require. If you want to ensure your television gets properly recycled, don’t give it to any individual or entity that states they will recycle it for free.

Certification matters

We recommend using recycling companies that are R2 and/or e-Stewards certified. R2 and e-Stewards are accredited, independent, third-party-audited certification programs that represent the highest standard for responsible electronics recycling and reuse. These certification programs are based on best practices in environmental health and worker safety, data security and all applicable laws.

To find out where you can properly dispose of your old TV, visit RecycleSpot.org.

Q: What could weigh as much as 11 Great Pyramids of Giza in 2017?

A: The estimated amount of e-waste generated worldwide that year.

VintageTech-elecRecyc-KB_026The world will generate an estimated 71.1 million tons of used electrical and electronic products in 2017 — an increase of more than 30 percent over 2012 levels — according to a study published by the United Nations organization StEP (Solving the E-Waste Problem). Researchers evaluated the global magnitude of annual e-waste generation and presented the results on this interactive world map. The map uses 2012 data from 184 countries.

In 2012, the world generated almost 53.9 million tons of e-waste, an average of 43 pounds for each of the world’s 7 billion people. The U.S. generated the most waste with 10.4 tons (about 66 pounds per person) and China came in second, with 7.9 million tons (about 12 pounds per person). For those of you keeping track at home, this means the U.S. generates nearly 20 percent of the world’s e-waste.

companion study published in tandem with the StEP report provides a detailed analysis of the generation, collection and export of some used electronic products in the U.S. For example, in 2010, U.S. e-waste included nearly 258.2 million whole-unit computers, monitors, TVs and mobile phones totaling 1.6 million tons. The study found that a majority of materials collected were mobile phones, but that TVs and monitors made up more than half of the total weight. Of the e-waste generated, Americans recycled 66 percent of the total units, but only 56 percent of the total weight. This suggests that mobile phones are recycled more frequently than heavier items such as TVs and monitors.

In Kansas City we are fortunate to have numerous facilities that recycle e-waste. Find a convenient location by visiting RecycleSpot.org.