Skip to main content

Watch Where You Toss That TV

SALT LAKE CITY: Folks tossing TVs into landfills may face federal consequences. That was the quietly delivered message from a division of the Bureau of Land Management this week. The BLM’s West Desert District issued a release urging folks to properly dispose of electronic equipment.

“After the switch from analog to digital broadcasting, I expect an increase of illegal dumping of televisions on public land,” said Glenn Carpenter, manager of the district. “I’ve already seen a marked increase of e-waste trash on our public lands in the last few years. Some people are using the screens for target practice. I think there is a general lack of understanding from the public about the toxicity of electronic waste.”

Televisions, computer monitors, keyboards, and cell phones make up much of the offending detritus. BLM says it’s the fastest growing category of garbage in the United States, and among the most toxic. Electronics typically contain a toxic mish-mash of mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, and beryllium. A single color monitor contains between four and six pounds of lead.

The bureau asked people to report illegal dumping, and said it would take legal action where necessary.

“BLM law enforcement officers may obtain voluntary compliance with clean-up orders or, when necessary, may take civil or criminal enforcement action,” the release stated. “Clean-up efforts are very expensive, a cost taxpayers typically absorb.”