Many viewers have decided to upgrade to a new TV during the switch to DTV. So, if you don't want to keep the old one, don't toss it. Recycle it.
Waste Management's de-manufacturing plant is full of electronic waste -- computers, cables, monitors and lots of analog TVs.
"Probably 80 percent of what we collect is TVs and monitors," said Chad Miller with Waste Management. "Something else can be done with that TV that you are about to get rid of. Let's find a way to use it."
The TVs are removed of its dials, circuit boards, and wires. Everything in the TV will be taken apart.
Almost everything at the plant, including that 20-year-old TV, will become something new.
"For example, plastic. That could be made into anything that you can think of that is plastic. I've actually got a fleece that's made out of plastic," Miller said.
It is the first of many steps in transforming a potential environmental hazard into a useful item.
"Don't throw it in the landfill. Let's recycle that. Let's put it into a commodity that we can re-use, make new products, save on greenhouse gases and not excavate from the earth," Miller said.
Each TV is taken apart by hand, screw by screw, piece by piece.
"This may take me a good 5-10 minutes to get everything out," one worker said.
It's a highly specialized process and that's the reason there is a fee charged to recycle TVs -- somewhere between $25 and $40 a piece.
"This portion right here is the leaded portion. You can get up to six to eight pounds of lead in a TV," Miller said.
Be wary of free recycling events since there is usually a fee required for this type of recycling.
But there is good news for some TV owners. If you have an old Sony, LG, Zenith or Goldstar TV, you can get free electronic recycling. Those companies have partnered with Waste Management to provide free electronic recycling. To learn more about where to drop off your TV, or the location of those free drop off sites, go to Waste Management's Web site.
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