Recycling centers are preparing for an increase in traffic and trash when people start buying new digital televisions and tossing their old analog TV sets. The so-called "digital conversion" is scheduled to happen on February 17th, 2009 and Andy Mass, the warehouse manager of Electronic Recyclers in Omaha, says so far, most Midwesterners appear to be holding onto their old sets.
"We haven’t seen the flood or anything yet come in," Mass says. "We are expecting it after the conversion takes place, but we haven’t seen it yet though." At Mass’ recycling operation in Omaha, they try to give televisions another life rather than immediately junking old sets.
"Trying to get everything back into service that I can, especially TVs," he says. "I have a gentleman that takes my TVs and he repairs them — gets them back out there in use again." Mass says if you want to get rid of an old television, recycling is best bet as some can be reconditioned. He charges customers to take their old TVs.
"We weigh it and then we charge them 40 cents a pound," Mass says. "The reason we have to charge them is because sometimes it costs us to get rid of the ones we can’t fix." Mass contends his approach to trying to fix the set and resell it to someone who wants is much better than simply tossing it in the landfill.
"We take any TVs," Mass says. "We don’t care — broken, working, we’ll get them back out there working again." Mass says people in the Midwest are a bit more conservative and getting more life from a TV is preferable to just adding to the junk pile. He also suspects Midwesterners will be more inclined to get the special equipment that converts old analog TVs so they can receive a digital signal rather than just tossing the old and buying a new TV.