TV recycling program viewed as cheap, simple

Folks in Snohomish County are apparently more than ready to recycle their old televisions.

The managers of Good Guys electronics store in Lynnwood were expecting to see about 500 old TVs lugged in through their doors during a monthlong TV recycling test program that started last week.

Instead, they saw 500 TVs in one week, and the flow hasn’t slowed since there was a line out the door on the first day the recycling program began, said Dave Marriott, Good Guys’ store manager.

“I’m surprised at the turnout,” Marriott said. “We’ve been getting about 90 TVs a day. I thought it would slow down, but it really hasn’t.”

The Lynnwood store has easily outpaced three other Puget Sound area Good Guys stores participating in the study, said Sego Jackson, a planner in Snohomish County’s solid waste department.

TV recycling

Old televisions can be dropped off until Aug. 7 at Good Guys electronics store in Lynnwood.

Recycling is $10 or $25 for big-screen televisions.

Good Guys is located at 19800 44th Ave. W. and can be reached at 425-640-5514.

The popularity is a sign that television customers are looking for convenient ways to recycle their TVs, Jackson said. He said the study would be used to help develop a nationwide or state policy to fold the cost of recycling televisions into the cost of buying them.

It’s been illegal to throw away TVs in Snohomish County for more than a year. The county recycles TVs at two transfer stations, but many customers don’t find those locations convenient.

At $10 for regular TVs and $25 for larger ones, Good Guys is charging considerably less than the county for recycling the sets. It’s also handing out coupons for 10 percent off the purchase of new equipment.

“If you have convenient, easy-to-use services, then people will like it,” Jackson said.

TVs need to be recycled because they are filled with such hazardous materials as lead, cadmium and mercury that don’t belong in landfills, say environmental officials.

The study is the nation’s first monthlong TV recycling program offered by a large TV retailer. It ends Aug. 7.

Nationally, 112 million pounds of electronics waste was recycled in 1998, an amount dwarfed by the 4 billion pounds that ends up in landfills each year, said Bill Dunbar, a spokesman for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a study sponsor.

Washington state residents will throw away more than a million pieces of electronics waste in 2005, much of which will go into landfills.

Mill Creek resident Gary Spiller said he appreciates having a convenient, cheap place to take his old TV.

“I didn’t know where to take it,” he said, adding that he’s happy his old TV will be recycled. “It just makes me feel good about the environment, that they’re not just shipping it to China and throwing it in the river.”

Reporter Lukas Velush: 425-339-3449 or lvelush@heraldnet.com.

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