Crying For Digital Discards

guy crying for old TVby Floyd Egner, Public Relations Specialist, Conservation Resources
Pinellas County Utilities

You’ve probably seen “crying guy” by now, mourning the TV set he loved for so long. It’s the digital age and his dearly discarded TV has taken wing to its final resting place, leaving him with a tear in his eye as he recalls those long hours on the couch with his best buddy.

“Crying guy” is the centerpiece of an advertising campaign by Pinellas County Utilities for its Household Electronics & Chemical Collection Center (HEC3), the “proper disposal” place for all of those analog televisions, outdated computer equipment and obsolete cell phones that contain heavy metals and materials that can be harmful to the environment.

The HEC3 has reported its heaviest traffic ever. Saturday, Jan. 3 set a record with 241 participants, breaking the previous record of 145 participants in one day. The most frequently accessed pages in the online edition of Pinellas County’s “A to Z” Recycling Guide are those concerned with electronics.

Electronics recycling is the hottest topic in the solid waste business these days. With the now-delayed, but still impending conversion to digital television broadcasting, recycling and solid waste programs across the country have reported higher than anticipated turnouts for free electronic recycling programs.

Truckloads of discarded gear – hundreds of tons — have been collected and recycled as many people also are taking advantage of the digital television conversion to get rid of old computer gear they’ve been collecting in attics and basements.

Recent media reports, including a “Sixty Minutes” segment and articles in Wired and National Geographic magazines, have detailed the terrible consequences of improper disposal, particularly in Third World countries. Operations have been exposed in Africa, India and China where practices include burning circuit boards and wiring in open air fires to recover metals. The resulting air pollution is devastating to both the individuals involved and their communities.

To dispose of your unwanted electronics properly, visit Pinellas County’s HEC3 or see the online A to Z Guide for other options.

More information:
A to Z Guide for Recycling & Disposal


Posted: February 23, 2009

Category: Work & Life

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