Don't Throw Out Those Old Televisions!

As many hotels, extended stay properties, and other hospitality venues strive to meet the growing demands of travelers by furnishing rooms with flat-panel televisions, the disposal of old televisions is posing a great risk to the environment.

Many of the components inside a television are toxic, including mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, and other harmful substances. In a landfill, these toxins seep into the ground and eventually into the water supply. While one or two televisions may not cause irreparable harm, discarding dozens or possibly even hundreds at a time could make a severe impact. Multiply that number by the total number of hotels that are making the switch and you can imagine the effects that may take place.

John Shegerian, CEO of Electronic Recyclers, Inc., estimates that there are currently 268 million televisions in the United States. 80 million of those will be thrown away in the next two years.

If you are ready to toss away those old televisions, what are your options? First, for non-functioning televisions, many communities have drop-off locations for electronic waste, also known as e-waste. Watch for announcements from local government offices. Another reliable source for finding drop-off sites is ElectronicRecyclers.com, which includes a search engine for drop-off locations and agencies that might take used televisions.

Even though the digital broadcast signal changed in February 2009, older functioning televisions can still be useful. To generate some additional cashflow for your property, try reselling them on websites like eBay, Craigslist, or LiquidationConnect.

Schools, after-school programs, shelters, and nonprofit organizations may be interested in your TVs. Other avenues for donating include Freecycle.org, a website that allows users to donate or locate unwanted equipment. The Computer Recycling Center in California is a third-party company that will take donations, make any needed repairs, and find new homes for televisions.

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