Switch to Digital Presents an E-waste ChallengeMarch 9, 2009
One of the biggest events in waste history is just around the corner. An estimated 284 million television sets will soon require cable, satellite or a conversion box to weather the broadcast storm. The analog to digital switchover is a perfect storm where enormous amounts of waste will be created as outdated televisions are disposed of and new units are purchased.
"There hasn't been any other transition that has had the potential for the significant influx of e-waste at one single time," said Matthew Coz, VP of Growth and Commodity Sales for Waste Management's recycling services. "All the other transitions, from walkmans to I-pods, or VHS to DVD have happened gradually. This is something that has been designed to not be gradual in its approach."
Despite the switchover deadline being delayed until June 12, 2009, the waste implications of this are significant. "We're facing a tsunami of waste and some of the worst waste," said Jim Puckett, founder of the Basel Action Network (BAN). "It is some of the most toxic waste, yet it has the least value from a commodities standpoint because of the cathode ray tubes (CRT)."
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