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What Happens When You Kill Your TV

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At noon today in Victory Park, a group of enviro-activists dressed for Halloween dropped to the concrete to rather dramatically mark the end of analog television. The switch from analog to digital television was supposed to happen back in February but was delayed when an estimated 6 million U.S. household were unprepared for the switch. But time's run out: The flip was switched, oh, 'bout 90 minutes ago.

As a result, the Texas Campaign for the Environment  -- the group behind today's Victory Park demonstration -- estimates that 3 million televisions will be tossed out in Texas (about 20 to 80 million sets nationally). Since old television sets contain anywhere from four to eight pounds of lead, this is a hell of a lot of toxic waste to hit the environment at once.

"These zombies are here to serve as a reminder that trashing obsolete televisions is a toxic option that may come back to haunt us," said program director Jeffrey Jacoby, as his zombie staff stood frozen behind him. "You don't want these in your landfills," he said, motioning toward the zombies. (And there's a slide show from this forthcoming.)

The most environmentally conscious thing to do is always to reuse items rather than toss them. Local Radio Shacks confirm they're still busy selling converters today, while Best Buy is offering to recycle old televisions up to 32 inches for $10.

Jacoby is calling on Governor Rick Perry to sign a bill passed in the Legislature to mandate more statewide recycling programs for used TVs, and "keep these old dead televisions from entering our landfills and water sources."

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Kimberly Thorpe

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