'Take Back My TV Campaign' Launched in Time for Holiday Shopping Season

Sony Electronics Signs on to Campaign to Eliminate Toxic Electronic Waste


With the holiday shopping season starting this week, the Electronics TakeBack Coalition (formerly the Computer TakeBack Campaign) is launching the "Take Back My TV Campaign" (http://www.takebackmytv.com/), an easy way to engage television manufacturers to solve the urgent problem of toxic electronic waste by providing the highest standards of recycling services to consumers. The campaign launch is timed to take advantage of the busy retail season when electronics sales are at an all-time high, coupled with the increasing demand for hot-selling High Definition flat screens.

Sony Electronics, in partnership with Waste Management Recycle America, is the first TV manufacturer to launch a free national take back program as well as to sign on to the "Manufacturers' Commitment to Responsible E-Waste Recycling." Sony promised to not only take back old televisions, but also to make sure their recyclers meet a strict set of recycling standards, including not exporting the toxic waste to developing countries. While leading computer companies have already established partial recycling programs, Sony is the only consumer electronics company to offer unlimited free take back and recycling for all its products and customers in the US through a growing network of collection locations that is not contingent on a new purchase.

"By signing the manufacturer's recycling pledge, Sony is abiding by the highest environmental standards for recycling our products, and helping provide a long term solution to the growing problem of electronic waste," said Mark Small, vice president of environment, safety and health for Sony Electronics.

According to recycling experts, roughly 400 million units of used electronics were disposed of in America last year. The proper recycling process removes the reusable components from the unit, then separates the rest into glass, plastics, and metals, for further processing and materials recovery. Unfortunately, the second part of that process rarely occurs. According to the EPA's 2005 figures, nearly 88 percent of the 2.63 million tons of e-waste generated in this country ends up in landfills or incinerators, where dangerous toxins can leach into groundwater or get released into the air. The portion supposedly collected for recycling is largely exported to developing countries, which lack regulations to protect workers or the environment. There, products are handled under primitive conditions (in backyard recycling yards) or simply dumped and eventually burned, exposing workers and communities to deadly toxic chemicals, like dioxin or furans.

The Take Back My TV Campaign calls on other television companies to follow Sony's lead, and develop recycling programs establishing responsible ownership of their products from start to finish. TV companies must also sign the "Manufacturers' Commitment to Responsible E-Waste Recycling." This commitment includes three important principles that are often ignored by most recyclers in the US:

  1. No dumping toxic e-waste on developing countries
  2. No use of prison labor in electronics recycling
  3. No disposal of e-waste in landfills or incinerators, including
     waste-to-energy incinerators

"Discarded TVs, computers, monitors, and other consumer electronics are the fastest growing portion of our waste stream," said Barbara Kyle, National Coordinator of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition. "We commend Sony for being part of the solution to this increasing public health problem. And we'd like to see the other TV companies do their part to solve this e-waste crisis."

Corporations that agree to sign the Manufacturers' Commitment to Responsible E-Waste Recycling are making a pledge to be good corporate citizens in an industry plagued by an unwillingness to be accountable for the TVs and other electronics they produce. Currently, many television companies, including Sharp, Philips, Toshiba and Panasonic, lobby against state legislation that would mandate the creation of recycling programs, arguing that consumers should pay for recycling through consumer fees.

This issue is becoming increasingly crucial in light of the impending FCC-mandated switch to digital of TV signal, scheduled for February 2009. As the date approaches, the demand for digital televisions will only increase-as will the need for a responsible, efficient way to manage the disposal of obsolete analog TV sets. The Consumer Electronics Association expects at least 30 million digital televisions to be sold in the US in 2007 alone. That's a new digital TV for almost 30% of the households in the US in just one year.

A complete list of Waste Management Recycle America eCycling Drop-Off centers can be found by calling 1-877-439-2795. More information about the Sony Take Back Recycling Program is available at http://www.sony.com/recycle. Sony says that more drop-off sites will be added in 2008.

More information is available at: http://www.takebackmytv.com/ and http://www.electronicstakeback.com/, which feature maps of existing e-waste drop-off sites, high-quality video and downloadable photos of unregulated e-waste dumping, and data on trends in electronics disposal and recycling. For a copy of a 30-second Mini-DV of footage from e-waste dumps in Nigeria or still photos of same, please contact Barbara Kyle at bkyle@etakeback.org.

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SOURCE: Sony Electronics Inc.

CONTACT: Rachelle Arcebido of Sony Electronics Inc., +1-858-942-4155,
Rachelle.Arcebido@am.sony.com; or Barbara Kyle of Electronics TakeBack
Coalition, +1-415-206-9595, bkyle@etakeback.org

Web site: http://www.sony.com/recycle