Q. We recently upgraded to a digital TV, which leaves us with an old analog set nobody wants to buy. And we're told we can't throw it out. What do we do?
It's true that old cathode-ray-tube TVs, along with many other electronic items, contain a banquet of toxic chemicals, such as lead and mercury, that make tossing them into a garden-variety landfill a bad idea. These sets require special disposal methods to isolate these toxins and recover whatever materials can be recycled.
The traditional way to accomplish this is to let your county or city's hazardous-waste program handle it. Most local governments have “e-cycling” programs that accept old electronics and computers, either on designated dates or at a specific site. But you may pay for the privilege.
You can search for nearby government and private e-cycling options at a site run by the Consumer Electronics Association: www.mygreen electronics.org.
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Some manufacturers offer “takeback” programs that allow consumers to return old products they made for free. See, for example, the programs of LG (http:// us.lge .com/green), Samsung (www.samsung.com/
recyclingdirect) and Sony (www.sony.com/recycle). But these programs' drop-off locations may not be convenient.
Still another option comes from Best Buy, which is testing a takeback service. Certain locations will accept sets as big as 32 inches for free. Call ahead to confirm that a store is participating.
Don't be surprised to see more electronics firms launch takeback programs as the end of analog TV broadcasts – remember, that's Feb. 17 – approaches.