Texas Law Requires TV Recycling

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Texas hold’em? Not so much anymore.

Obsolete televisions that used to end up roadside or otherwise illegally dumped in the Lone Star state will now be properly recycled thanks to new legislation. Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill into law last week that compels TV manufacturers to take back and recycle old sets.

Televisions, like other electronics, disgorge heavy metals and other toxic materials into the ground and water as they break down in landfills. Old-fashioned cathode ray tube TVs contain four to eight pounds of lead, while newer flat-screen styles use several mercury bulbs to light the screen.

SEE: When It’s Time to Replace Your Outdated Device

The measure represents a reversal for Perry who vetoed a similar bill in 2009. Environmentalists cheered the new law as the next important step in building comprehensive recycling regulation for Texas.

“This bill is the long-awaited companion to the computer takeback Law that Governor Perry signed in 2007,” said Robin Schneider, executive director of Texas Campaign for the Environment, in a statement.

TV takeback in Texas is long overdue, so this law is a crucial step toward bringing free and convenient recycling to all Texans. That said, there’s still work to be done.”

The measure requires manufacturers that sell TVs in Texas to offer free recycling programs, putting the onus on electronics companies to comply and meet standards.

It’s an excellent example of the nation’s move toward extended producer responsibility and will free up tax dollars, observers said.

“Producer takeback recycling ends the existing system of local taxpayers subsidizing waste, shifting the cost of waste management from governments to producers. Producers have the control over design and should be responsible for the solutions,” according to advocates at TexasTakeBack.org.

“By making the producer responsible for their end of life products, there is a market-based incentive to start designing for reuse, recycling and with safer materials.”

READ: What Is a Producer’s Responsibility?

Mike Buckles, head of TechnoCycle, an electronics recycling firm in Houston, agreed in a statement.  “With this market-based solution, manufacturers in the television industry will improve their corporate responsibility,”

Surprising many advocates, the electronics industry supported the bill. The Consumer Electronics Association, which represents more than 2,000 electronics companies, backed the measure.

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