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Today's Show:
In Episode 260 we covered various options for energy efficient home theaters. One of those involved making sure you look for the Energy Star logo on the products you buy. After all just because we want to watch HDTV doesn't mean our kids should be robbed of watching Quad-HDTV when they grow up. There are a lot of colors talked about in home theaters, white noise, black-out shades, red lasers, blu-ray...even rainbows on your DLP TV. But today we're going to continue in the green theme. Listener Greg from Michigan thought it would be a good idea to round out the discussion; we've talked about how to buy gear, now we'll cover how to get rid of it.

Even Greener Home Theater

According to a National Geographic article, 25 million televisions are retired each year. That's in addition to the 30 to 40 million computers that will be thrown out in the next few years. Of course all of this waste adds up, and fast. "In the United States, it is estimated that more than 70 percent of discarded computers and monitors, and well over 80 percent of TVs, eventually end up in landfills, despite a growing number of state laws that prohibit dumping of e-waste, which may leak lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, beryllium, and other toxics into the ground. Meanwhile, a staggering volume of unused electronic gear sits in storage—about 180 million TVs, desktop PCs, and other components as of 2005, according to the EPA."

Sow what do you do when you buy a new TV, or a new DVD player and you simply have no use for the old one? Maybe the new one pushed the old one into a different room, which pushed another out and so on, until you're left with an ancient hunk of junk that you remember being great in it's day, but it's a real relic now. As far as we see it, you have three options.

Donate it
Depending on what you have to give, there could be a plethora of options on who would want to take it. The obvious choices are friends and family. Maybe someone close to you isn't as addicted to gadgets as you are and even an old relic for you is a huge upgrade for them. Make their day and give it away. If you don't have anyone to give it to, look around for a local charity, school or church that might benefit from your hand-me-downs. And if all else fails, post an ad for free stuff. You;ll have college kids lined up around that block.

Sell it
Put it up on eBay or Craigslist or in your local classified ads. Odds are if you can't give it away, it will be tough to sell it. But maybe it's still worth something, and to help appease the finance committee for the new item, you should sell it instead of giving it away. A quick glance at eBay shows a ton of really nice electronics equipment that can be had for a great price. It's often difficult to ship really big TVs, so local ads may work out better. But brining home $100 toward the $2500 you just put into the new flat screen is a nice gesture. On second thought, maybe you can use that $100 for a nice dinner and some flowers. Easier to ask for forgiveness, right?

Recycle it
This is the key. Whatever you do, don't throw it away. The eWaste in the ground and on fire around the world is causing untold amounts of pollution in the soil and air. And it isn't too hard to find a way to recycle. For example, Sony has an ongoing e-Recycling program called Take Back that will accept your old gear and make sure it's dealt with properly. In a recent two-day event in the Twin Cities area, Sony, in conjunction with Waste Management, collected over 4 million pounds of unwanted electronics (article). You can read more about it and find a local recycling center online. Or you can visit eRecycle.org for a ton of other information and details.

Do your part to ensure that the TVs, DVD players and Receivers we enjoy so much today don't come back to haunt us tomorrow. OK, so that sounds like the tag line from a really bad B-Movie, but it's something we all need to think about.

Posted by The HT Guys, April 21, 2008 9:57 PM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.