Melbourne is currently in the middle of the changeover to digital television, with the original analogue system to be turned off in December 2013, leaving millions of older televisions with cathode ray tubes on the scrapheap. So how to get rid of them?
In my local suburb the annual hard rubbish collection is approaching, so many of my neighbours have emptied out their spare rooms and put their old televisions out on the nature strip for collection. My 1.2 kilometre long walk to the railway station passes around 150 households: so how many televisions can I find?
Televisions 1 and 2: a pair of 10 year old mid-sized CRTs.
Television 3: a cheap Teac telly.
Not quite a TV: someone has dumped their old CRT computer monitor for a new LCD panel.
Televisions 4 and 5: another pair of 10 year old mid-sized CRTs.
Television 6: someone’s tiny bedroom TV.
Television 7: another 10 year old mid-sized CRT.
Television 8: something a bit different, a 30 year old small Sanyo portable with a VHF-only push-button tuner.
Televisions 9 and 10: two more 10 year old mid-sized CRTs.
Televisions 11 and 12: and two more mid-sized televisions.
Televisions 13 and 14: two different TVs, a 1980s midsized unit, and an oldschool wooden floorstanding cabinet set.
Television 15: another nice unit, this time an AWA portable unit with rabbit ears and a VHF-only turret tuner – do you remember the mysterious channel 5A?
Television 16: a pretty big Sony Triniton.
Televisions 17 and 18: more 10 year old mid-sized tellys.
Televisions 19 and 20: still more of the same.
Television 21: another small bedroom television.
Television 22: another mid-sized television, perhaps from the kitchen?
Not quite a TV: but an old box for a 68 centimetres CRT telly.
Television 23: yet another mid-sized television.
Television 24: a cheap-arse Conia.
And just outside the railway station… a box for a digital PVR that someone bought to use with an existing television.
In less than 15 minutes I found 24 old televisions by walking passing around 150 households – one in six is throwing out an old TV. Over 100,000 tonnes of old televisions and computers (16.8 million units) were disposed of across Australia in 2007-08, but 84 per cent (by weight) went straight to the trip, despite containing hazardous materials such as lead, cadmium and mercury.
- Recycling Near You: find a recycling centre to take your old junk
- National Television and Computer Product Stewardship Scheme: an upcoming Federal Government scheme to to address the issue