It’s Christmas morning, and you just tore the wrapping paper off your new flat-screen television.

Everything’s perfect, except for one thing: You need to unload your old clunker of a set.

But tossing that outmoded TV is tougher than you’d think. The garbagemen won’t take it along with the rest of your trash, and few local charities accept older TVs. What’s more, the Southern Nevada Health District, which licenses recyclers, says no Clark County recycling outfits are certified to break down or reuse televisions, though executives of a St. Louis company called EPC said they hope to open a TV-recycling site on Sunset Road sometime in the first quarter.

The lack of options could become a problem in coming months, as the transition to digital broadcasting renders analog TVs obsolete unless the sets connect to cable, satellite or a converter box.

Displaced analog TVs will join millions more already sitting in closets across America, said Barbara Kyle, national coordinator of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition in San Francisco. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans had 99.1 million sets stored and unused for a year or more at the end of 2007. Kyle said she believes those are all analog TVs that people set aside with plans to find a taker at a later date. With the digital transition, though, most folks could begin eyeing those sets as outmoded albatrosses no one will want. Hence Kyle’s concern that tens of millions of televisions laden with toxic waste could be headed for the nation’s dumps in the next few months.

"We think we’re going to see a huge spike in the amount of televisions that end up in the trash," Kyle said. "People are already getting rid of their old TVs, and we expect that trend to increase after the (digital) transition."

Local trash observers say they have yet to see increases in unloaded sets.

Bob Coyle, area president of Clark County’s waste manager, Republic Services of Southern Nevada, said his company hasn’t seen gains in TV-dumping. Nor has in-home trash collector 1-800-GOT-JUNK noticed an uptick in local customers requesting that the business take away antiquated sets, said spokesman Travis Dudfield. And Steve Chartrand, president and chief executive officer of Goodwill of Southern Nevada, said the number of TVs donated to the nonprofit’s area thrift stores has held steady.

Coyle said Republic isn’t bracing for a surge in trashed TVs. Given the soft economy, he suspects consumers who have stuck with analog sets will simply upgrade to satellite or cable, or buy a converter box — all more affordable options than dropping several hundred dollars on a digital television.

Research from the Consumer Electronics Association in Virginia shows Coyle may be right. The trade group found that 48 percent of analog-TV owners plan to buy a converter box, and 12 percent expect to sign up for cable. And unlike, say, car tires or batteries, consumers don’t necessarily make a one-for-one trade when they finish with a timeworn television. They’ll just as often send the dated set to a back bedroom or basement recreation room, where the TV becomes a video-game terminal or movie-viewing screen.

Still, plenty of consumers might want to unload archaic sets. And that’s where their options get thin locally.

On top of searching in vain for area TV recyclers, consumers will have trouble finding a private trash scavenger collect old sets. Dudfield said 1-800-GOT-JUNK urges customers to hang onto their old-fashioned TVs until the city has an "environmentally responsible" recycling operation where the company can take old sets for reuse.

And if it’s left curb-side with the rest of the household’s garbage, Republic will tag it and leave it on the spot, where it’ll sit haunting the family like Aunt Myrtle’s unwanted fruitcake.

Republic won’t toss TVs into their trucks because trash compactors will crush the sets. And with four to eight pounds of lead in every television, plus chemicals including cadmium, beryllium and brominated flame retardants, the dust that results from grinding up sets becomes an environmental threat.

That’s why Republic treats unwanted televisions as hazardous household waste, which means consumers wanting to trash them have to take them to one of two places: The company’s Gowan Road recycling center or its Henderson transfer station. Customers can abandon their old sets at either site free. From there, Republic sends the sets to its Apex landfill about 20 miles north of Las Vegas. The dump is lined, Coyle said, to prevent waste from leaching into surrounding soil.

Even if consumers feel it’s safe to send their ancient TVs to the landfill, Kyle and officials at the Consumer Electronics Association want them to reconsider. Televisions contain pounds and pounds of valuable commodities, including glass, plastic, metal and even wood, all of which can be reused, thus sparing natural resources. With recycling programs proliferating nationally (see sidebar), locals could try hanging on to their sets until an operation launches here.

Until then, what should Las Vegans do with sets they don’t want to send to the area landfill? Locals’ best bets for now are with philanthropies, retailers and electronics manufacturers.

Charities that accept and reuse computers and computer monitors, such as the Blind Center of Nevada and the Clark County Public Education Foundation, won’t accept outmoded TV sets, so stick instead with nonprofits looking for goods to resell in thrift stores.

The Salvation Army takes sets younger than 10 years old. Army officials offer this simple rule: If a TV has the letters UHF on it, it’s too obsolete to resell in their stores. But if the remote goes past 99 channels, the set will likely find a taker inside an army thrift store.

Goodwill also takes any working TV for its thrift stores, Chartrand said.

Don’t bother dropping off nonworking sets at either charity, because the groups must pay a third party to haul away dead TVs.

"Our general rule is that we ask people to donate what they would give a friend," Chartrand said. "Hopefully, they’ll give to their friend something that’s in good working condition."

Passing off a broken TV to any charity can lead to unintended consequences, Kyle said. The companies that cart away busted sets sometimes sell those bum televisions to waste traders who export them to developing countries in Asia and Africa. Rather than going to sophisticated recycling plants with environmental controls, the TVs often end up in "primitive, informal" settings where poorly paid workers smash them open and breathe in lead dust, or burn them and inhale the resulting dioxins, Kyle said.

"The way we’re managing getting rid of our old TVs is poisoning people on the other side of the globe," she said.

Manufacturers increasingly do offer take-back programs. Sony, Samsung, LG Electronics, Panasonic and Toshiba all run drop-off programs, but none operate locally yet. That could change: TV makers launch new locations constantly, and Sony says it wants to post drop-off sites within 20 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population, said Parker Brugge, vice president of environmental affairs and industry sustainability for the Consumer Electronics Association. Best Buy is also testing a pilot program allowing consumers to drop off up to two electronics products, including TVs, every day at their stores, with no obligation to buy a new product. That program hasn’t come to Nevada yet.

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at or 702-380-4512.

Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like