A lot of television sets and used computers have become unwanted junk during the holiday season because people got new stuff…And more TV sets will become unwanted as we move closer to the digital switchover next year.
Don’t just have the trash pickup service haul it away and put it into a landfill. The Missouri natural resources department says TV sets and computers have a lot of hazardous wastes–up to eight pounds of lead in cathode-ray tubes, for example, and mercury in flat-screen monitors.
The department is working with so-called de-manufacturers who will recycle these things. Hazardous Waste specialist Mike Menneke says there’s no reason to send these things to landfills. Although most landfills are designed to contain the hazardous wastes in those appliances, there’s no reason to fill them up with bulky things like TV sets and computers.
He says Missouri has about 20 de-manufacturers in the St.Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield areas, with a few scattered in other counties. It’s working to set up outstate drop-off points. There’s a webpage listing the companies and giving tips for proper disposal: www.ecyclemo.org
Menneke says just about everything but the wooden cabinet of a TV set can be recycled and computers are almost entirely recyclable. In fact he says the glass from the tubes is sent to the Doe Run Smelter at Boss Missouri to recover the lead from them. But first, the devices have to get into the recycling system.