Mark the date - February 17th, 2009. That's when the big switch from analog to digital TV goes into effect for all of us. So what do you plan on doing with your old television set if you're not already hooked up to cable, or have a converter box? State officials say don't dump it!
"People don't understand. They think they can leave it on the curb and the next morning and it'll be gone. That's not the case," says Michael Harris with the Orca Conservancy. "That old analog television set is the equivalent of toxic waste."
Larry Altose with the Department of Ecology says," There's also mercury and cadmium. These are all toxic metals that are fine when they're organized in a product like a television, but they are not fine when they leak out into the environment."
That's why the D.O.E. wants to get the word out before people start throwing out their old television sets en masse. But Altose adds, if that's the case, the state and other agencies will be ready to handle the overflow.
"Starting in January, the state of Washington will be the first in the nation to have free recycling paid for by the manufacturers."
If you can't wait until then, some recycling centers have already been set up. You will have to pay a fee, but once the free program begins next year, there will be an estimated 200 places to take your old tv - various stores and non-profit organizations.
Altose says,"the authority the legislature created to organize this is working all over the state for convenient places for people to drop this stuff off."
State officials say they expect to be flooded with tv's once the free recycling program begins on January 1, 2009. They also want to remind consumers this is an ongoing program, so there is no rush to bring your tv in right away.
Also, remember if you have cable - Comcast for example will take care of the transition for you. You will not need to install any new equipment. You can still also purchase a converter box. For more information, go to our homepage: Q13FOX.com and click on DTV Transition at the top of the page.