Thursday, October 30, 2008


Michael Kanellos--GreenTechMedia
With Digital TV Conversion Coming, Panasonic Paves Way For Recycling Today at 3:09 PM

If you’ve got an old TV with a Panasonic logo, it’s going to be easier to get rid of it soon.

The Japanese electronics giant will open up 160 drop-off locations in ten states over the weekend where consumers can get rid of old TVs, cameras and other electronic doo-dads made by the company. There’s no charge.

The recycling center is being run in conjunction with Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company (which goes by the abbreviated acronym MRM), a joint venture started in 2007 with Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba.

Electronic recycling has become mandatory in a few states like Minnesota and California and will soon be mandatory in several others. These programs, though, can be confusing (who should pay for them? where does the trash go? who gets to resell the waste metals?), which has limited their effectiveness. Another problem: how to get rid of the stuff. In Europe, something that’s thrown out that contains an electric plug is classified as toxic waste: thus, you can’t just throw it in the recycling bin.

Stations like this help grease the wheels. And in the next several months, there will be a lot of TVs going to the shredder. Roughly 80 million analog TVs will get heaved out in 2008 and 2009, John Shegerian, CEO of Electronic Recyclers (ER), one of the largest e-waste recyclers in the U.S., told me a while back. The glass in an old tube TV consists of about 22 percent lead.

Even without the digital TV mandate (which kicks in on February 17, 2009), the e-recycling business is booming. Roughly 65 million pounds of e-waste was recycled in 2005 in California alone after the state passed a recycling law and the figure shot up to 120 million pounds in 2006. More than 200 million pounds was hashed in 2007.

Panasonic, like a lot of Japanese companies, has set several ambitious goals for reducing its own carbon footprint and increasing the green-ness of its products. Many are reducing the power consumption of plasma and LCD TVs. Panasonic also makes green homes, but not in the U.S.

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