How to get rid of old tube televisions - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

How to get rid of old tube televisions

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DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -

Old tube televisions are becoming increasingly outdated and incompatible with new technology, but getting rid of old electronics could hurt the environment and taxpayers' wallets if not done properly.

Most thrift stores no longer accept donations of tube TVs, since there is such a low demand for them.

An environmentally friendly option is taking an old TV to be recycled at the local landfill.

The Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency (DMASWA) landfill gets about 150 televisions, laptops and computer monitors per month.

"A lot of people do not know they can come out here to actually recycle the TVs," scale operator Robin Kinnicker said Tuesday afternoon at the landfill.

She said old TVs are filled with materials that can be re-purposed, but are also hazardous to the environment.

"You don't want to have those toxins end up in somebody's ditch or the driveway or the back of an alley, sitting there, degrading over time," Kinnicker said. "It can be a huge hazardous concern, so we'd prefer they bring them out here to the landfill, come visit us, and dispose of them properly. It makes them recycle, makes them feel good, and it's a small fee."

The DMASWA landfill charges $5 for each TV or computer monitor with a screen that measures less than 27 inches diagonally. Electronics with screens larger than that cost a person $15 to recycle.

As for other unwanted items, disposing of appliances -- such as microwaves, refrigerators and washers and dryers -- costs $5 apiece.

Kinnicker said it's a relatively small fee to pay in order to recycle and keep hazardous materials from hurting the environment.

"A vendor will come in and pick it up and take care of the disposal for us," she said, standing in front of old televisions.

The DMASWA pays a contractor to take away the old electronics. That contractor then salvages the reusable materials, recycles what can be recycled and -- only then -- puts into the landfill anything that can't be re-purposed.

Best Buy also accepts old televisions - and for free - but with size and quality restrictions. During normal business hours, the store will take any television with a screen measuring up to 32 inches, diagonally. It will also accept computer monitors and laptops, cell phones, ink cartridges and a number of other electronics. Best Buy will also accept flat panel models measuring up to 60 inches. The store will not, however, accept cabinet TVs, rear projection TVs or any television or computer monitor - of any size - that is physically damaged. People are limited to dropping off three large items per day, per household.

People who illegally dump an unwanted television -- in a ditch, for example -- to avoid paying the small landfill fees end up putting the bill on taxpayers.

Taxpayers in Dubuque County pay tens of thousands of dollars every year in illegal dumping clean-up, as KWWL has previously reported. See that story HERE:

http://www.kwwl.com/story/25740566/2014/06/10/illegal-dumping-costs-dubuque-county-taxpayers-80k-per-year

See the US Environmental Protection Agency's website on electronics donations and recycling HEREhttp://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/materials/ecycling/donate.htm

Information on the DMASWA electronics recycling policies and prices is HERE: http://dmaswa.org/services_electronics.cfm

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