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About those TVs…

With the coming digital television conversion, “government officials are ‘ushering in the biggest e-waste tsunami in history,'” Barbara Kyle of the Electionics TakeBack Coalition tells the Progressive this month (the article’s not available online).  “This is the biggest planned obsolescence effort in the history of the U.S. government, she says,” but there’s no discussion of “where all these old TV sets ought to go.”

“That’s just an incredible oversight, especially considering they’re pushing a huge amount of toxins into the trash,” she said.

In the last two years, 112 million analog TV sets have been removed from use.  The brominaded fire retardant used in their plastic cases — it’s banned by the European Union — can’t be removed or recycled.  “These are really toxic chemicals and in their brominated form, they go into the atmostphere and last hundreds of years,” says Arlene Blum of UC-Berkeley.

The city’s computer recycling center takes televisions — but TV plastic is really hard to actually recycle.  “Once you have plastic laced with brominated flame retardands your options are you either downcycle it into something else, or you trash it,” Kyle said.  The Progressive reports that some recyclers ship plastic overseas where it can be burned.

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Category: environment


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