- Intercon makes the list for top facebook page
- Intercon's Rapid Growth featured in Modesto Bee
- Intercon and CEO Brian Brundage featured in Green Manufacturer Magazine and Online
- Federal guidelines needed and Intercon Solutions leading the way - Platts
- Financial News Network and Intercon Solutions
- CEO, Brian Brundage featured on the Epodcastnetwork.com
- Intercon Solutions featured in Adweek
- Intercon Solutions compared to Google and Facebook - MSNBC
- Intercon CEO featured on MSN Careers and Career Builder
- Bit By Bit - Intercon Solutions featured in Recycling Today.
- Intercon Solutions featured on Save my Planet, part of the Live Well National HD Network
- Intercon featured in "This week in Chicago" Time Out Chicago
- Earth911 - What really happens to your ewaste
- Computer User - THE RESPONSIBLE LEADER IN e-WASTE RECYCLING
- Intercon Solutions featured in The Wall Street Journal
- Illinois Passes Lofty E-cycling Legislation
- SkinInc: Intercon Solutions is greening the spa and salon industry
- Maximum PC - The Story of E-Waste and Intercon Solutions
- CBS - Protect against Identity Theft with Intercon Solutions
- ABC Live Green with Hosea Sanders “Truly Green Recycling – Intercon Solutions”
- Recycling Today - Intercon recycles EPS, foam and light gauge plastics
- Intercon Solutions featured speaker at Upcoming Indiana Recycling Coalition Conference
- Spring Cleaning with Intercon Solutions - in Computer User
- Intercon Uses Reverse Engineering to Recycle Styrofoam
- Are You in the Pallet or the Recycling Business? Introducing E-Recycling: The Fastest Growing Segment of the Recycling Industry
- Company designs machine to recycle polystyrene
- MSPAlliance Launches E-Recycling Program for Global Membership
- ABC Action News - Intercon Processes for green awareness and e-waste recycling drive
- Investors Business Daily - Leaders & Success - Intercon Solutions
- Chicago Tonight /WTTW Channel 11 - Intercon Solutions processing for the manufacturing industry
- Deborah’s Place 2010
- Recycling Today.com – Intercon Solutions Receives OHSAS 18001 Certification
- TBO.com – Recycling electronics today
- Intercon Solutions goes to the forefront of Safety
- WGN – DTV Transition Special - Recycling
- Tossing out your old TV, Properly
- Intercon takes giant steps to save the environment
- Intercon Representative Ossie Ally Helps Innisbrook Go Green on Fox 13
- The Recycling Newspaper – American Recycler features Intercon Solutions
- International Herald Tribune / Global Edition of the New York Times / Featured Top Processor - Intercon Solutions
- The Green Way to Throw out E-Waste, NBC National Evening News with Brian Williams
- Chicago Tribune - Old ways of destroying electronic waste are being thrown out
- TV Recycling that is good for environment. ABC 7 - Chicago
- Top Processor Intercon Solutions recycles for Wisconsin
- Computer Clean Up – E-cycling Near You
- SouthTown Star - Intercon handles E-Waste Spring Clean Up Event
- Star Tribune - Minnesota / Intercon is a solution
- Shape Magazine - Green is the new pretty
- Label it: The Earth Day Challenge – Whitley County
- Schererville Community News – What do I do with my old electronics?
- Chicago SunTimes.com - Intercon Solutions nominated for Innovation Award
- Discovery Channel - Things we love to hate
- Chicago Sun Times August 2007
- Intercon Solutions Plans Program to Raise Environmental Awareness
- The News Tribune.com - Every speck of your trash is this company's treasure
- American Recycler - A Closer Look
Today - Disassembly Line
- The Today Show with Lester Holt
- Interactive Media - It's Not Easy Being Green
- May 11th, 2007 - WYCC-TV
- The Norman Transcript.com - Chicago Heights recycler reverses manufacturing
- A Handbook for Earth Friendly Living by Crissy Trask - It's Easy Being Green
- Columbia Tribune.com - Electronics recycler stays ahead of U.S. curve
- Chicago Business.com - On the Other End
of the Line
- Waste News.com - Intercon
Solutions names Travis Griggs wireless recycling chief
- Recycling Today?s Plastics
Recycling Conference - Electronic Recovery
- Electronic waste piling up in
Illinois, around the world
- Office and Commercial Real Estate Magazine - Recycling Electronics
- The Business Connection
- A Message from the President
- We Recycle Aluminum Cans, Plastic; Why Not Cell
- Intercon Solutions to Update Facility
- Firm turns recycling practices up a notch
- Fermilab "Best in Class"
for Program to Reduce E-waste
- Public Works Magazine - The cost of e-waste
- Electronics recycling
- Recycling e-waste
- Crain's Chicago Business
- Stamp of approval
- Chicago Sun-Times
- P.C. PC disposal
Tech Magazine - Forgotten, But Not Gone
- First Business
- Profit from Old PC's
Today - Intercon Solutions adds plant
- The Star
- Electronic recycler expands with move to Chicago
- Chicago Sun-Times
- De-Lightful Move
- Solid Waste & Recycling
- Intercon Solutions moves US plant
- Waste News.com - Illinois
e-waste recycler moves to new facility, expands capacity
- Electronics Recycler Opens New Facility
Security & Product Destruction News - Electronics
- ICCM Weekly
- Environmental CRM: Toward a Corporate "Recycling
Mindset" for Retired Assets
- UPI Technology
News - Old mobile phones a hazard
- Red Streak - Old PCs
not just high-tech landfill fodder
- Norton E-Zine - Are
Recycled PCs Harming the Earth?
Electronics Recycling Newsletter
- Tin Technology
- Making a business out of e-waste
- Recycle Electronic Waste
- Intercon Solutions Launches Online Electronics Recycling
- High Tech Trash
- Waste News - E-recycling
Industry Continues Evolution
- Crain's Chicago
Business - Intercon Solutions Recycling Division
- Business Xpansion
Journal - Recycling Old Computers?
- The Star Newspaper
- Donate or recycle those old computers
- Computer Dealer
News - Canada's e-waste problem needs a cleanup
News - Where old servers go to die
- An intimate look at being "green"
- Brian Brundage, CEO
Making the digital switch? Toss your old TV set properly
May 31, 2009
BY LAUREN FITZPATRICK, Staff Writer
The guts of an old television set look like a bunch of junk.
There's a heavy glass screen, a bunch of plastic plugs and a jumble of wires tucked inside a wooden or plastic cabinet. A cathode ray tube, the key to the picture, hides more glass, a metal frame and up to 8 pounds of lead.
Find out more
The digital television turnover had to be extended four months to June 12 partly because the program providing coupons for converter boxes ran out of money.
Thousands of people who applied for the $40 converter coupons at the end of last year were put on waiting lists, informed they likely wouldn't get them in time for the original Feb. 17 conversion.
And without the boxes, analog TVs that rely on antennas to pick up over-the-air signals won't work.
A proposed $650 million was added to the initial $1.5 billion fund subsidizing the boxes, which will be needed by anyone with an old TV set that does not have cable or a satellite system, ala one that relies on rabbit ears.
The money pays for the converters, a free help hot line at (888) 225-5322 (888-CALL FCC), and no-cost house calls to anyone who can't manage to set up a converter box with telephone help from the FCC.
Despite the delay, a May 21 digital test-run by the Federal Communications Commission turned up more problems in the Chicago area than in any other market.
And some 3.3 million people nationwide still don't have a digital-ready television, according to the Nielsen Co.
So, if you need help or still have questions about digital broadcasting, call (888) 225-5322, or log on to DTV.gov or DTVanswers.com.
Nothing will prevent Southlanders from chucking old sets once the June 12 switch changes broadcast signals to digital, when analog TVs, the kind with the tube inside rather than a digital tuner, become obsolete. Curbside garbage pickup grabs electronics, too. State law doesn't yet prevent electronic trash - or e-waste - from going to the landfill.
Not that couch potatoes are rushing to toss their old analogs en masse, since cable watchers will experience a seamless conversion. Many others with tube TVs opted for converter boxes, which at about $50 or $60 come cheaper than a new digital TV.
Still, to mistake any of those old TVs as trash is shortsighted.
The guts of a TV can be hazardous if not treated properly. They take up a lot of space as trash. And they're valuable as raw materials when recycled.
They're also gold to a Chicago Heights company, which will transform those insides into ingredients purchased by American manufacturers.
Salvaging everything possible
Walls of old console TVs stand inside Intercon Solutions' giant warehouse, piled up 10 feet tall on an industrial floor still scarred with steel rails from when the Washington Street building contained railroad cars.
Shrink-wrapped on wide pallets, TVs in bulky wood consoles and colored plastic cases alike await disassembly in a process Intercon Solutions calls "demanufacturing." Pieces get unscrewed, unhooked, unfastened, all by hand, in the opposite order of their manufacture. The parts are then sorted by materials and packaged for shipping to a series of manufacturers within the United States (but none in Illinois).
Nearby, workers are dismantling old telecommunications consoles from the outside in, while conveyor belts sit silent, full of plastic calculators from another shift. And a carton of old film unspooled from Defense Department reels waits to be stripped of its silver.
Mark Medic of Intercon said this recycling process is tidier than shredding, and keeps hazardous materials from contaminating the ground. Intercon doesn't resell working gadgets overseas for consumer reuse. And they put nothing into landfills, he said.
This is important because the lead alone in TVs causes health problems when released haphazardly into the environment. Other heavy metals like mercury and cadmium - found in the TV tubes - also can contaminate groundwater. Mercury causes birth defects and damages the central nervous system. Lead poisoning often leads to learning disabilities in children. And cadmium irreversibly damages kidneys and lungs, and softens bones.
Intercon pulls the lead components out of the sets and sends them downstate where the metal is smelted out. The smelters get the glass, too, which they use to help regulate the heat of the smelting process.
The lead is resold to electronics companies, mostly for use as solder. Wood from cabinets is chipped up for particle board. And the plastics become plastic lumber and parking bumpers.
And the more metals that can be salvaged from junk, the fewer that must be mined underground.
You don't want to fill the landfill
Intercon charges for recycling dropoffs. Several times a year, the company partners with area municipalities who pay the fees, which start at $10 and depend on the size of the set.
"You don't want to fill the landfill with (hazardous materials), you don't want to fill the landfill anyway," said Marta Keane, a recycling specialist at the Will County Land Use Department. "Once it's full, we have to make a new one somewhere else. So why fill it up with televisions just because we're going to switch to digital?"
Illinois passed a law in September requiring manufacturers to take back e-waste and recycle it, said Dave Walters, a waste reduction manager at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The law starts to take effect in 2010, and by 2012, all TVs, computer monitors and printers, and other electronics will be banned from the landfill stream.
"The new Illinois law is really much broader than other states," Walters said. "It's the first piece of legislation that includes printers."
About 20 states have some kind of e-waste laws, most of which are recycling programs rather than bans on landfills.
"So I would not say we're late in coming to the game," Walters said. "We're ahead of the curve than in other states."
Lauren FitzPatrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (708) 802-8832.
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