finds hotels ignorant about recycling electronics
The hotel industry is failing to educate owners
and managers on how to recycle television sets, or often that
television sets need to be recycled by state and local requirements.
This is the key finding of a new survey conducted by The Refinishing
Touch, a specialist in re-upholstery, on site furniture refinishing
and armoire modification services.
The Refinishing Touch polled 103 hotel managers, operators and
owners. It found that despite guidance, and in some cases state
laws, to reduce e-waste, such as television sets ending up in
landfills, two-thirds weren’t aware of what the requirements
were for safe disposal. Twenty six percent of respondents were
completely unaware of any requirements about television disposal.
Of the respondents, 13 percent were responsible for more than
one hotel as part of a chain or brand, and each respondent was
responsible for between 15 to 2,000 television sets within their
operations, with the average of 176 sets per respondent.
When asked if they had recently purchased flat screen televisions,
more than 39 percent said that they had bought televisions in
2009; while a further 24 percent said they had or would buy flat
screen televisions in 2010.
Television disposal has become a problem for the hotel industry
as independent and chain hotels look to update bulky cathode
ray tube television sets and replace them with modern flat screen
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United
States currently produces more than three million tons of e-waste
every year, including television sets and computer monitors,
which hold high levels of toxins as well as containing important
recyclable resources such as precious metals, plastics and glass.
When asked how they had or would dispose of unwanted television
sets, just under a third (30 percent) of respondents realized
the need for an approved vendor to remove and recycle unwanted
television sets; 6 percent said they used junkyards; 15 percent
advertised them on sites such as Craigslist. The remainder found
alternate methods which included donating the sets to local communities,
passing them to other smaller hotel operations or selling/offering
them to employees.
The survey revealed that many respondents were unaware of how
toxic the components of a television set are. When asked which
product contains more toxins, a pack of 20 cigarettes or a television
set, over a fifth of respondents (22 percent) thought the chemical
volume was greater in cigarettes. Old televisions contain between
four and eight pounds of lead.
Mario Insenga, president and CEO of The Refinishing Touch said,
“As more state laws – and hopefully federal laws – come into
force, all organizations and individuals are going to have to
review how they recycle TVs, but in the interim it’s crucial
to view e-waste from a perspective of responsibility. If you
gave someone a box full of lead, cadmium and mercury and asked
them to dispose of it, most humans would feel a moral responsibility
to do so safely and wouldn’t even consider throwing it away.
Yet when disguised as a television set, people are doing just
that without even realizing it.”