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Changing the channel on TV disposal

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

A recent article in The Washington Post reported there are 338 million televisions in the United States, 15 million more than the entire population.

What happens to those televisions after they no longer work has become a major concern in Henry County, a problem New Castle’s new street commissioner tried to address at Wednesday’s meeting of the Henry County Solid Waste Management District Board.

Veteran New Castle city worker Lee Walker, who recently took over as street commissioner, offered an idea to take those televisions so often dumped illegally and make it easier for people to dispose of them.

Walker said his crew could use part of their Fridays to pick up televisions set out by city residents if a sticker system was developed to ensure those residents had paid the $5 fee at the solid waste district office.

The office currently accepts TVs for disposal at that $5 charge; with the proposed system, Henry County residents could leave their TVs at home.

“Friday has been set aside for them to clean and grease their trucks,” Walker said of his workers. “That really doesn’t take all day. So they’re going to be able to use half the day to be able to go out and do this. If we have a distinctive sticker to put on the TV, we’ve got three guys who will pick them up, drop them off at the district office and get them off the street.”

Walker said improper disposal of TVs is a problem he sees on a daily basis.

“Currently right now we’re probably seeing 20 TVs a day on average on our trash routes,” Walker said. “This past Monday, I actually caught a non-resident trying to take his TV out of the back of his car, shove it in a city trash toter and it was probably about a 45-50 inch TV. I pulled in behind him, got out, and said, ‘What are you doing?’ He said, ‘I’m trying to get rid of this TV before I get caught.’ I said, ‘Well guess what? You just got caught.’”

Walker said the improper disposal attempt was from someone who didn’t even live in Henry County. He got the license plate number and called the police.

“We take probably four or five TVs a week to the dump,” Walker added. “Smaller ones, they stick them in the toter. This would hopefully help eliminate some of that. It is a problem. People don’t understand you can’t just throw them away.”

HCSWD Executive Director JoAnne McCorkle said Walker’s idea was well worth pursuing.

“There are some who can’t get their televisions to us and there are some who just don’t know they can bring it to our office,” McCorkle said.

HCSWD board member Ed Yanos suggested using a second sticker in the process as well, one trash workers could place on TVs they see that don’t have the distinctive HCSWD sticker showing they have paid the $5 fee. That sticker would contain information explaining how the homeowner can dispose of the television properly for just $5.

Board members agreed these ideas were worth more consideration.

The need for Walker’s plan was reinforced by McCorkle’s director’s report, which said the district’s electronics contractor picked up approximately 40 televisions Wednesday – 10 of which came in during a 15-minute period last Friday.

In other business, the board continued to discuss water problems encountered at the district office on Broad Street. McCorkle said New Castle Building Inspector Kenny Melton came to the office, looked in the basement and walked around outside the office.

“He made several suggestions, including checking with Randy Neal to see if he would be agreeable to trenching outside along the Solid Waste District Office wall,” McCorkle said.

McCorkle said new signs for the district’s eight public recycling sites are ready to be placed. “We also have the smaller signs for each site stating illegal dumping can carry a $2,500 fine,” McCorkle said.