Signal switch to give more old TVs the boot

E-waste recycling depots expect higher volume

Last month’s switch from analog to digital television broadcasts has electronics recyclers predicting an uptick in unwanted TVs coming their way.

The change only affects TVs that receive over-the-air signals through an antenna – and even they can still be used if paired with a digital converter.

But Craig Wisehart, program director of the Electronics Stewardship Association of B.C., expects it means more people will upgrade and cast off old TVs.

“We think more of these will end up in the end-of-life category,” he said. “We don’t want them to end up in a landfill somewhere.”

The agency that coordinates the electronic waste pickup and recycling system in B.C. is urging anyone with an unwanted set to dispose of it responsibly by taking it to a depot.

The broadcast signal change took effect in late August in major markets but has been deferred in smaller, rural communities.

Even before the switch, Wisehart said e-waste depots were already noticing a 15-per-cent jump in the volume of old TVs or computer displays arriving compared to last year.

He says the Vancouver Canucks’ playoff run may have been a factor, spurring hockey fans to upgrade their TVs and then recycle older models.

“We did see a spike,” he said, but added it’s hard to pinpoint a specific cause.

People are becoming more aware of where to take dead or unwanted electronics, he said, sometimes suddenly cleaning out piles of equipment that’s collected dust in basements for years.

B.C.’s depot system now gets about 20,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year and has collected 55,000 tonnes since it was launched four years ago.

For depot locations and other information on electronics recycling see http://www.return-it.ca/electronics/.