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Best Buy Screws PA for TV recycling with changes to Electronics Program
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Best Buy Screws PA for TV recycling with changes to Electronics Program

Electronics are one of those items that are tricky (and sometimes expensive) to recycle.

Best Buy officially Best Buy has now added a $25 (!!!) fee for every TV or monitor collected for recycling, which applies to the old school “Tube” (CRT) TVs & monitors, as well as the flat screens. However, they are NOT recycling TVs or computer monitors in PA because the law prevents Best Buy from collecting fees to run the program. Their other recycling programs will continue to be for free (phones, appliances, ink, etc.) Full list of what Best Buy recycles is here.

According to Best Buys website, they explain the reason for the changes:

“Since 2009, Best Buy has voluntarily operated the most comprehensive e-waste recycling service in the United States. We remain an industry leader and the only national retailer to provide this service. We are fully committed to being a convenient local resource for people to safely dispose of their consumer electronics and appliances. From time to time, though, we will make changes to ensure the service itself is sustainable, including charging fees to recycle certain products for which recycling costs have risen sharply.”

This comes from a store which made $40.34 BILLION USD revenue in 2015. And they’re now stating that the cost is too much for customers?

Where to Recycle TVs in Philadelphia:

Good news is that we have a few alternatives in Philly. We listed these other places to recycle a TV in Philly:

We always recommend confirming on original websites / calling ahead before you head over to drop off recyclables, as programs change on occasion. (See: Best Buy.)

So why are Best Buy changes a problem?

Overall, technology is constantly changing, which means people quickly discard their old models for new upgrades.

There’s 25 states with NO takeback laws, so Best Buy has been the monopoly of E-waste. Staples accepts a lot of similar items but does NOT accept TVs.

Pennsylvania requires electronics recycling per a law passed in 2013, and even deems dropping these items curbside is ILLEGAL. However, many residents either are unaware or ignore these laws (if you walk around Philly trash days…) 

Best Buy is a convenient and prominent store in Philly with recycling, especially where other retails are lacking in these initiatives. Especially when recycling is a personal choice (when people disregard recycling laws) or in areas outside of major cities, their fees provide a bigger hurdle for many.

Where does your E-Waste end up?

70% of electronic waste ends up in China. CNN covered the southeastern town of Guiyu, and how electronic waste has affected residents:

According to the April 2013 U.N. report “E-Waste in China,” Guiyu suffered an “environmental calamity” as a result of the wide-scale e-waste disposal industry in the area.

Much of the toxic pollution comes from burning circuit boards, plastic and copper wires, or washing them with hydrochloric acid to recover valuable metals like copper and steel. In doing so, workshops contaminate workers and the environment with toxic heavy metals like lead, beryllium and cadmium, while also releasing hydrocarbon ashes into the air, water and soil, the report said.

For first-time visitors to Guiyu, the air leaves a burning sensation in the eyes and nostrils.

 

Another problem in e-waste? When manufacturers purposely modify new plugs/etc that make old models obsolete.

Apple is another tech giant accused of contributing to a growing e-waste problem – their new pin layouts (aka the port where you charge your device) can cause as many as 45 million devices to be partially obsolete. Accessories like docking stations, hotel alarm clocks as well also contribute to the e-waste when changes are made.

Readers, what do you think of Best Buy’s changes?

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher
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