What happens to my old TV?
We live in what’s known as a consumer society.
That means that – apart from necessities such as food and clothes – we go shopping for things that can be seen as luxury items.
Computers, mobile phones, televisions, games consoles.
But what happens when they wear out?
No matter how long the manufacturers claim they last, the average television is replaced every five years or so. Britain’s switch from analogue to digital TV a few years ago resulted in tens of thousands of people getting rid of old TV sets to be replaced by modern models, and if you visit a rubbish tip on any day, you’re likely to see piles of ‘big back’ cathode ray televisions that have been replaced by more modern LED flat screen sets.
The same goes for games consoles. They’ve got what’s known as ‘built-in redundancy’, meaning that they’ve only got a relatively short shelf-life before the makers replace them with a newer, funkier model with better graphics and new games that don’t work in the old version.
So, what happens to my old device?
In the old days, it would have been thrown into a landfill site, and squashed flat under a bulldozer.
Now, companies have realised that they’re full of valuable metals that can be removed and recycled into other goods. We can now recover copper wire, gold, silver, platinum and other metals. Also, the glass from the screen, and the plastics that make up the case can find new uses.
The good news is that most local councils have now made it much easier to get rid of your old electrical goods. What’s known as WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment) can now be taken to special recycling points, usually near clothes recycling bins in car parks. Just dump your old toaster, and it’ll be taken away for recycling.
The government says that we can save the UK economy up to £200 million if we recycle our old electrical goods, and up to £1.5 billion from the tonnes of precious metals that are extracted from old computers.
So, look in your cupboards and drawers. What defunct electrical items can you recycle?