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TV E-Waste Around the World: UK, Vietnam, Hotels, Australia

The DTV conversion is gaining momentum worldwide, along with e-waste problems and solutions.

The UK has been converting to digital television DTV) region by region, a process that will continue through 2012. The Ethical Consumer reports that counties currently converting have reported a 70%-100% increase in analog TV disposal.

(re)blog takes to task a recent episode of the TV 'reality' program The Amazing Race for presenting as entertainment American contestants irresponsibly demolishing e-waste in Vietnam. Vietnam's DTV transition is unlikely to complete until 2015 at the earliest, so we assume most TV e-waste is from elsewhere. Possibly from those watching the program on their digital displays.

Hotels are going through a DTV transition, too. LG Electronics used the 2009 International Hotel/Motel Show and Restaurant Show to announce, along with Waste Management, what its calls "the first recycling program for hotel operators to responsibly dispose of outdated television sets and computer monitors" and said it would also "assist hoteliers in working with WM to recycle the packaging from the new LG flat-panel HDTVs and computer monitors being installed in their properties." The company used the occasion to announce new models of its Pro:Centric LDC HDTV s: "commercial-grade televisions with a host of features designed to reduce energy consumption and offer cost savings on a per-room basis."

Finally, Computerworld Australia reports that "Computers and televisions will be the first products regulated as part of a national recycling scheme endorsed by state and federal environment ministers. Federal environment minister, Peter Garrett, said in a statement that the new 'industry-run national collection and recycling scheme' will be up and running in or before 2011. 'Under the new product stewardship scheme, 80 per cent of all TVs and computers are expected to be recycled by 2021,' Garrett said." Australia's DTV transition is scheduled to complete in 2013 and Australian IT reports that only 10%-16% are recycled today. This suggests that a ramp from <20% in 2011 to 80% in 2021 would leave the majority of analog TV's landfilled, not recycled, by the completion of the DTV transition in 2013.

More on the energy and e-waste implications of the global DTV conversion.

Update 2009.11.17 reports that the government site for the French DTV conversion does not inform citizens about responsible disposal of analog TVs. French DTV is scheduled to phase in regionally during 2009-2011. I estimate that there are over 40 million TV sets in France, of which a substantial number are probably still analog.