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Springfield Offers Ways to Recycle Old TV Sets

Discarding of old tube televisions can be hazardous to the environment.In light of the switch to digital television, the city of Springfield is urging residents to act responsibly when getting rid of their old T.V. sets. KSMU’s Ryan Farmer took a trip to Springfield’s Computer Recycling Center to see what options are available.

A crusher at the recycling center is busy taking old electronics and shredding them into tiny parts. Since Congress ordered all TV stations to broadcast in a digital signal by this summer, many Americans are buying new digital televisions and getting rid of their old analog sets. The city of Springfield is making an effort to take old televisions and reuse them instead of dumping them in the trash.The city has paired its efforts with the Computer Recycling Center to get the word out about the harm that TVs can cause if improperly discarded.The Computer Recycling Center’s General Manager, John Missildine, says old TV sets have hazardous materials in them.

"The main culprit is the toxic lead that serves as a shield inside of the picture tube. An average television set, depending on size, would have anywhere from 8 to up to maybe 16 pounds of that lead that keeps the harmful rays from getting out," says Missildine.

Missildine says that when a television comes to the center it is completely disassembled and every piece of it is salvaged and made into new products such as batteries, fishing lures, and ammunition.

"The end result is that we keep the lead from getting out into the environment. Sometimes alot of them are put into the landfills, sometimes they are dumped by way of the side of the road, those kinds of things. That is the real danger, lead is a very toxic substance, and can cause some real serious problems," says Missildine.

Missildine says that there is a 20 dollar fee for bringing in old televisions to be recycled, but he says that he thinks it’s worth the trouble.

"We're just excited about helping everybody get the things recycled because all of those things that we recycle, they will be reused, and reused. Makes for a much more efficient Earth," says Missildine.

If you wish to recycle your television sets, or other electronics, you can call the Computer Recycling Center at 417-866-2588.

For KSMU News, I’m Ryan Farmer.