The grades are in! TV manufacturers put to the test

Media Center: Press Releases


November 17, 2008


Electronics TakeBack Coalition teach consumers which companies pass and which flunk their environmental responsibility

San Francisco, Calif – With only three months to go until the digital TV conversion, the Electronics TakeBack Coalition (ETBC) today released its new TV Recycling Report Card, grading the major TV manufacturers on their efforts to establish national programs to take back and recycle their old TVs. More than half of the 17 companies ranked scored a failing “F” grade, because they have no recycling program in place. Sony received the highest grade, a B minus, with other companies scoring C’s and D’s.

“While we are encouraged that some TV manufacturers now have national programs to take back their old products, none of these programs have enough locations to allow for easy and convenient TV recycling for most consumers,” said Barbara Kyle, National Coordinator of the ETBC. “Clearly, there is still a lot of work to be done. We want to see a lot more collection sites and a lot more transparency about what the recyclers are doing with these products, so that we can be sure they are being handled responsibly.”

The grades were determined based on the scope of each company’s recycling program, their commitment to responsible recycling, the volume and visibility of their program, and each company’s level of support for public policy that encourages responsible recycling. Several criteria address the transparency of the programs, including public disclosure about vendors used, and the ultimate destinations of the toxic materials in the products, as well as clear commitments by the companies not to allow any toxic materials to be exported to developing countries.

“We hope that consumers who are shopping for a new TV this holiday season will take the manufacturers’ environmental record into account when they decide what to buy,” said Kyle. “Consumers can and should use their buying power to push this industry toward greener practices.”

The Electronics TakeBack Coalition, a national coalition of environmental and consumer groups, has been pressuring the TV companies to create national recycling programs, particularly as next February’s mandatory digital TV conversion approaches. ETBC estimates that tens of millions of old-style TVs, each of which includes 4-8 pounds of toxic metals, will be disposed in the near future. They could end up in our landfills, or be dumped overseas in developing countries, as profiled in a recent 60 Minutes report. The EPA estimates that there are 99 million unused TV’s in storage in the U.S.

The Electronics TakeBack Coalition is making the complete report card grades available online at The website also features a reprintable comprehensive Consumer Guide To Recycling Your Old TV, with everything the consumer needs to know for the digital conversion in February.

The Electronics TakeBack Coalition is a national group of non-profit organizations promoting responsible recycling and green design in the electronics industry. ###