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and if you visit a rubbish tip on any day, you’re likely to see piles of ‘big back’ cathode ray televisions that have been replaced by more modern LED flat screen sets.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?
Chapters in this book
1. Why do we recycle?
2. Recycling: Some facts and figures
3. Recycling: More facts and figures
4. All about food waste
5. Recycling ideas for schools
6. What’s global warming about?
7. Recycling at home
8. Why we need to stop using landfill
10. What happens to my old TV?
11. What happens to recycled glass?
12. Why can’t we just burn our rubbish?
13. Recycling and environmental ideas for the classroom
14. Things you didn’t know you can recycle
15. Tips for living green
16. Can we get solar power?
17. Q&A with a refuse collector
18. Recycling drink cans
19. Recycling steel cans
20. Paper recycling
21. Fun recycling facts for kids
22. Facts about landfil
23. How to reduce waste in Schools