AUSTIN – Twenty states have laws providing for the
recycling of old televisions, which reduces the amount of
electronic waste in landfills. After a state House vote on
Thursday, it appears Texas will join the club.
The bill, which already has passed in the Senate,
would require TV manufacturers to give consumers easy recycling
opportunities. SB 329 is not expected to be vetoed by Gov. Rick
Perry, as was a similar measure in 2009.
Robin Schneider, who directs the Texas Campaign
for the Environment, says it's good news for Texans who care
about reducing electronic waste.
"Because all the television companies - if they
want to sell us TVs - they're going to have to recycle TVs."
The measure would make manufacturers primarily
responsible for recycling costs. Much as with the state's existing
computer-recycling program, consumers would learn of recycling
options from retailers, the state environmental agency, and local
government web sites and toll-free hotlines.
The bill's strong bipartisan support indicates
changing attitudes in Texas, says Schneider, who has been pushing
similar efforts since 2003. With no evidence such laws in other
states have inflated TV price tags, she says, the legislation
should please almost everyone.
"This measure is important because it will help
keep toxic lead and mercury out of our landfills, and it will help
create jobs in the recycling industry. It will also save local tax
Until now, she says, local governments have borne
much of the costs associated with discarded TVs.
The new law would not make recycling mandatory for
consumers, but Schneider thinks most Texans want to do the right
thing as long as it's convenient enough.
"Most people have a sense that throwing away an old
television to go to the landfill is probably not the best thing to
do, but they don't know what else to do with their television."
The recycling industry, she says, has been slow to
accommodate televisions, largely because TVs don't have as many
reusable components as do computers, for instance. That will
change, she predicts, with new recycling laws: Compelled to
subsidize the recycling process, manufacturers will have an
incentive to build TVs with more recyclable materials.
A resource for computer recycling is online at
"parent">Texasrecyclescomputers.org. Information and statistics
on nationwide electronic waste laws are at