Don’t throw away your old televisions, Londoners urged

03 April 2012
  • Recycle for London is reminding people not to throw away perfectly useful old analogue television sets when the capital begins to switch over to digital transmission this week

Londoners are being reminded of the options available for recycling or reusing old analogue televisions when the digital switch over hits the capital tomorrow (4 April).

As part of the national digital switch over, viewers in London will need to convert or upgrade their television to receive digital signals from Wednesday and this could lead to an increase in electrical goods being dumped. Digital UK estimates that with more than 11 million television owners in London, as many as half plan to buy a new TV set for the switch over.

To avoid a deluge of old analogue television sets being binned and sent to landfill, where electrical goods cause environmental damage, Recycle for London is offering Londoners practical advice about how to upgrade their television sets.

Analogue televisions often contain hazardous chemicals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic and when disposed of improperly, these chemicals can end up in our bodies and water sources. Landfill costs are also rising, causing a financial headache for councils at a time when budgets are under pressure. In some areas, it is illegal to dispose of your analogue television in landfill. Alternatively, when a television is recycled, valuable raw materials such as copper, plastic and metals can be extracted for recycling, the hazardous materials separated and the glass recycled back into the electrical industry to make new televisions.

The advice being offered is part of Recycle for London's Nice Save campaign, raising awareness of how much money can be saved by recycling in the capital. Cutting down on electrical waste is a key part of this – last year Londoners threw away 18,000 tonnes of electrical waste – the equivalent of 2,000 double decker buses.

Londoners threw away 18,000 tonnes of electrical waste in the past 12 months, a significant proportion of which ended up in landfill, where lead and toxins contained in these items can cause soil and water contamination.

A spokesperson for Recycle for London, said: “Increasing the amount of electrical equipment that gets reused or recycled can help protect the capital’s environment, reduce the amount of waste needlessly thrown away and in turn cut costs for London’s boroughs.

“Londoners have a range of options to reuse or recycle their old television sets. As the capital prepares for the digital switch over this month, anyone who needs more information on how to avoid creating unnecessary waste should check out the Recycle for London website for details.”

Residents in the capital who still have an old analogue television are being advised to check out various options for recycling or reusing their set, by visiting the Greater London Authority’s Recycle for London website for information.

Old television sets can be recycled at your local Household Recycling Centre or through borough council bulky waste collection services – but often the best way to recycle an old set is to reuse it. Adding a digital converter box to an analogue set is convenient and relatively inexpensive, and does not require special antenna to receive digital television.

For advice on how to recycle or reuse your analogue television set and information on services being run in your area, use the postcode locater service at http://www.recycleforlondon.com/, which provides information on electrical recycling services available in each London borough.

The British Heart Foundation is running a television collection service. They will mend your unwanted TV and make it safe before selling them at a discounted price to low income households and in some cases the general public. For more information visit http://www.bhf.org.uk/test/van-collection.aspx

Notes to editors

London’s digital switch over will happen in two phases this month: 4 April

  • The analogue BBC Two signal is switched off permanently
  • At the same time, BBC digital channels, including BBC Two, extend to reach all areas

18 April

  • Two weeks after stage one, the remaining analogue channels are switched off permanently
  • The remaining digital channels become available in all areas