Some Worry Digital TV Conversion Will Create More E-Waste

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Community E-Waste events have become something of a cash cow for many schools. 

“They have been our principle source of fundraised income for the last three years.” 

Debra Vaca is with the Pleasant Grove High School Band Boosters in Elk Grove. They’re holding another electronic waste recycling event this month and hope to raise about $5,000. She says they raised twice that amount last year. But a lot more schools are holding similar events now. 

“Unfortunately people have realized that this is a really good way to make money especially this year with the digital conversion a lot of people realized that there would be folks that wanted to get rid of old TVs.” 

But despite a massive publicity campaign about the switch to Digital TV on February 17th… 

“…many Californians are still not aware that this transition is about to happen.” 

Mark Murray is the Executive Director of Californians Against Waste. He’s afraid that a wave of old TVs will hit the state’s landfills. 

“I think a lot of folks are going to be surprised come February when their TVs no longer work. That’s when the potential threat lies is when the transition actually occurs and you’ve got a TV that you turn on and you just see white.” 

Murray says announcements about the conversion to Digital TV should also include information about recycling. Throwing away TVs and most electronic devices is illegal in California because of the hazardous materials they contain.