“Green day” at CES kicked off by dancing TV zombie kick line

Media Center: Press Releases


January 07, 2009


National environmental coalition urges TV manufacturers to recycle old TVs

Las Vegas, NV – This morning, 25 activists dressed as “undead TV zombies” danced and did a Vegas kick line to draw attention to the need for TV manufacturers to do more to take back and recycle old TVs, at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. On the same day that CES hosted sessions featuring industry figures bragging about the “greenness” of their products, the Electronics TakeBack Coalition criticized electronics manufacturers for their general unwillingness to take back and safely recycle their used, toxic products, even though the digital conversion is only a month away.

“CES is all about the electronics industry convincing consumers to replace their old gadgets with the newest, coolest thing, ” said Robin Schneider, the executive director of the Texas Campaign for the Environment, and Vice Chair of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition. “But at CES you won’t hear much about what consumers should do with the old products they tossed aside. We think that as long as these electronic products contain toxic materials, the company that makes the product should take it back and recycle it in a responsibly when the consumer is done with it. Until they do, we’ll just see more and more TV zombies – old TVs tossed into the landfills.”

Electronic waste is usually either thrown in landfills or exported to developing countries by unscrupulous recyclers, to be bashed, burned and melted down in unsafe conditions. Many well intending consumers take their old electronics to e-waste recycling collection events, not knowing whether they will be recycled, or exported and dumped on poor people in developing countries. Eighty percent of children in Guiyu, China, a region where many “recycled” electronics wind up, have elevated levels of lead in their blood, due to the toxins in those electronics,much of which originates in the US.

The zombies represented all of the discarded, still functioning TVs that are not recycled but thrown into landfills. They are “undead” because their toxic components continue to “live on” in the ground soil and water supply, causing public health and environmental hazards. In 44 states it is still legal to throw a TV in the landfill. The zombies are a reminder to the consumer electronics industry that their products are toxic and they are not going away. The focus on “undead” televisions stems from the tens of millions of still working TVs being discarded in anticipation of the digital conversion on February 17.

The Electronics TakeBack Coalition has published a TV Recycling Report Card, grading the TV companies’ efforts to promote responsible recycling. Of the 17 companies evaluated, more than half flunked. The highest score, a B minus, went to Sony.

“Here we are, only about a month away from the digital conversion deadline, and half of the TV companies have no national program to take back and recycle our old TVs, and the companies which do have programs have so few collection sites that they just don’t work for most consumers,” said Barbara Kyle, National Coordinator of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition. “Consumers need better options to make sure their old TVs are responsibly recycled, and the TV makers should be doing more to provide these options.”

For videos and still shots of zombies descending on Vegas, go .

For an interview with Robin Schneider, or Barbara Kyle, the national coordinator of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, please contact Allison Lenthall at 703-600-9324 or


ETBC’s Zombie Video

(Revenge of the Return of the Undead Toxic Televisions Strike Back):

TV Recycling Report Card:

For videos and still shots of zombies descending on Vegas: