May 28, 2009
The Texas Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed the Television TakeBack Bill that promotes TV recycling.
The bill requires TV manufacturers to provide Texas residents with “free and convenient recycling” for their old TVs. Retailers would not be able to sell TVs from manufacturers that do not have a recycling plan in place.
The bill now heads to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk and awaits his signature , said Robin Schneider, executive director of Texas Campaign for the Environment, which worked to get the bill passed.
Rep. David Leibowitz, D-San Antonio, wrote HB 821, which Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, sponsored in the Senate. It’s similar to a 2007 law that mandates manufacturers in Texas provide recycling programs for old computers and monitors.
“Televisions pose an even bigger threat to the environment than old computers,” said Rob Borja, chief of staff for Leibowitz.
Old TVs contain 8 to 10 pounds of lead and other toxic materials that can contaminate soil and water , Borja said.
The federal government’s mandated switch to digital television on June 12 means consumers will dispose of millions of old TVs, and this new law will keep many of those TVs out of the state’s landfills, Schneider said.
In February, Best Buy announced it would take back junk TVs. It currently charges $10 to dispose of old TVs 32 inches and under, but the store gives people a $10 Best Buy gift card to offset the cost.
Goodwill gets hundreds of TVs dumped at its doorstep every month, said Christine Banks, vice president of environmental business with Goodwill Industries of Central Texas in Austin. It recycles 30,000 pounds of TVs a month at a cost of about 25 cents per pound, plus freight, she said.
“This bill is so great for Goodwill and other nonprofit organizations and local governments that accept TVs,” Banks said, because it shifts the cost burden to the TV manufacturers.
The bill did not ban putting TVs in landfills or mandate that people recycle, Schneider said.