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Ratings drop for TV recycling

By Colleen Diskin NorthJersey.com

Media Center – Press Coverage

Ratings drop for TV recycling

Thursday, October 30, 2008
By Colleen Diskin, northjersey.com

Protesters dressed as “TV zombies” visited Panasonic’s headquarters in Secaucus today to call attention to their concerns that electronics manufacturers are not moving quickly enough to establish recycling programs for outdated products.

AMY NEWMAN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
“Do you have an appointment?”

Eight protesters wearing cardboard boxes made to look like TVs on their heads, were turned away at the entrance of Panasonic this afternoon.

Panasonic officials then announced they were establishing a recycling initiative along with Mahwah-based Sharp Electronics and Toshiba, whose America Consumer Products division is located in Wayne.

Disposal of electronics has become a growing environmental concern. Television and computer screens contain lead and other components can contain toxic heavy metals like cadmium and chromium.

The country’s planned shift in February to a digital-only television transmission signal could lead to the discarding of millions of TVs, say environmentalists, who want manufacturers to have reliable take-back programs in place by then.

New Jersey has passed a law that requires electronics manufacturers to set up their own take-back programs by 2010 or pay to fund a state-run version.

“But if programs don’t begin until 2010, we’re going to have missed the boat in terms of collecting much of the e-waste stream that will be created by the digital conversion,” said Barbara Kyle, national coordinator of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, which organized the protest today.

Panasonic has teamed with Sharp Electronics and Toshiba on a take-back program that will kick off next week in New Jersey, and eventually expand to all 50 states, said David Thompson, Panasonic’s environmental affairs director.

In Bergen County, a drop off center will open on weekdays beginning this Monday at the Sharp headquarters, at 1 Sharp Plaza, Mahwah, company officials said. Other locations throughout the state will eventually follow.

Consumers can drop off products made by the three manufacturers free of charge. The hazardous materials in the electronics will be processed by certified recycling companies in New York state and in Canada, Thompson said.

E-mail: diskin@northjersey.com

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