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Take Advantage of Federal Coupon Program for TV Converter Boxes and Avoid Unnecessary E-waste

Release Date: 04/24/2008
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 /

PHILADELPHIA (April 24, 2008) -- These days everything seems to be going digital and television is no exception. Beginning February 17, 2009, all television stations are required by law to join the digital revolution. From that day forward, all programming will be broadcast in a digital format, more commonly referred to as high definition.

There is no need to panic. And no, you don't need to buy a new TV. By following a few easy steps, you can convert your old faithful, rabbit-eared friend into a modern digital program receiver. Plus, the federal government will help cover most or all of the cost!

To help families keep their old analog TV sets working after February 2009, Congress created the TV converter box coupon program, which will help defray part of the transition cost. Each U.S. household can obtain up to two converter box coupons by phone or via the internet, each worth $40 towards the cost of eligible converter boxes.

Taking advantage of this offer is a good thing because you can avoid unnecessary electronic waste by using the converter boxes for your analog TVs. Televisions and other electronic products contain metals and materials that can pose a danger to human health and the environment so putting them out in the trash is not recommended.

The coupons will include a list of stores where you can purchase the boxes, and the store will apply the coupon towards the purchase price, which ranges from approximately $40 to $70 per box. To obtain more information and to apply for the converter box coupons , go to or call (888) 388-2009.

Remember, a TV connected to cable, satellite or other pay-TV service does not require a TV converter box.

If, however, you decide to buy a new TV, be sure to dispose of the old set properly. Because televisions contain lead, they should not be thrown out with other household trash destined for the landfill. Each television screen contains about four pounds of lead, which is used to shield the cathode ray tube.

Lead is most harmful to young children since it can cause severe learning disabilities, slowed growth, hearing loss, and other health problems. Adults can also be affected. Lead can damage the central nervous system, cause high blood pressure, digestive, memory, concentration and reproductive problems.

EPA estimates that up to 40 percent of the lead in landfills comes from discarded electronics.

Here are some recycling tips to remember:

- Don’t throw your old television or other electronic into the trash!

-Instead take them to an e-cycling center. Many towns now offer special drop-off locations for electronics. Check with your local municipality or Streets Department;

-Consider donating your old functioning television to a local school, nursing home, community center or other charitable organizations;

-Check with your favorite electronics store or the manufacturer. Some now offer trade-in discounts for your old television; or

-Keep your old television and get a converter box that will allow you and your family to continue enjoying your favorite shows.

For more information on where to e-cycle your television and other electronics go to:

More information on where to recycle:

EPA's Plug-In To eCycling site