Owners of old analog television sets are being urged to recycle them rather than toss them in the trash as the Friday deadline approaches for the changeover to digital broadcasting.
Officials of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality expect that thousands of old TV sets will be discarded after the transition from analog to all-digital TV.
People with analog TVs must connect to a digital converter box or subscribe to cable or satellite television to get reception after Friday. Or they can unplug their analog TVs and start using new digital-ready sets.
Discarded analog TVs present environmental and health hazards, according to ADEQ. Each cathode ray picture tube can release an estimated three to eight pounds of lead into the environment, and TV sets also contain other toxins like mercury and cadmium. If not properly disposed of, discarded televisions can contaminate the soil and groundwater and even the air, said ADEQ spokesman Mark Shaffer.
"If they are put into a landfill setting, the CRT (cathode ray tube) might be broken, and you never know what could happen," he said. "It's true that landfills are sealed, but it's not something you want to deal with. Recycling is the way to go."
Recycling also preserves limited landfill storage space, said ADEQ Acting Director Patrick Cunningham.
The locations of nearby electronic waste recyclers can be found by visiting www.azrecycles.gov and entering your ZIP code.
The Electronic Industries Alliance at www.eiae.org offers similar information.