By Arashi Young
Many people choose to upgrade their television during winter. Holiday sales, beginning in November and lasting until spring, encourage consumers to clear the shelves to make room for new TV models. It’s a yearly retail cycle that can lead to a lot of waste and a lot of confusion about the best way to get rid of electronics people no longer want.
Before buying a new set, consider purchasing a used one. Buying used goods reduces the impact of manufacturing–getting more use out of the resources that went into design, production and transport of products. Used or refurbished TVs will often sell for a fraction of the cost of a new model.
If purchasing new, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) suggests looking for energy efficient products that carry the Energy Star label.
Some TV models also have fewer environmental impacts during manufacturing. For example, some models use recycled plastics in their components. The Global Electronics Council has created a tool to rate and suggest more environmentally friendly TVs, known as the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment tool (epeat.net).
TV packaging disposal
A new television set often comes with a lot of packaging–some can be recycled and some should be thrown in the trash.
The cardboard box can be recycled if it is clean and dry; otherwise it is trash. Flatten cardboard boxes and cut up any boxes larger than 3 feet in any direction. Plastic wrap and plastic strapping should be thrown into the trash.
Styrofoam packaging can’t be recycled at home, so skip the curbside recycling bin. The Agilyx facility in Tigard accepts Styrofoam for free (agilyx.com).
Getting rid of unwanted TVs
In Oregon, it has been illegal to dispose of TVs in the garbage, landfills or incinerators since 2010. The disposal ban requires people reuse or recycle televisions, computers and monitors.
If the television still works, consider reuse or resale. Ask your community if there is someone who could use your TV or donate it to a secondhand store or reuse organization.
Broken televisions can be recycled for free through the Oregon E-cycles program. The program also provides free recycling of computers, monitors, printers, keyboards and mice. Call the E-Cycles hotline at 1.888.532.9253 or visit the Oregon E-cycles site (deq.state.or.us/ecsearch/Default.aspx) to find the collection site nearest to you. You can bring up to seven electronic items for recycling at one time at an E-Cycles collection site and Metro’s transfer stations (bit.ly/MetroTransferStations).
What to do with remotes and cords
Don’t toss that old remote control in that trash, especially if it has batteries inside. Leave the cords out of the recycling bin–they aren’t recyclable at home and will clog recycling sorting machines. Donate your unwanted remotes and cords to electronics recyclers or secondhand stores where they can be recycled or reused.
Take your used batteries to a hazardous waste collection event or a Metro household hazardous waste facility. Hazardous waste disposal is free for households, up to 35 gallons per household per day.
This article was originally posted on the Metro website, oregonmetro.gov.