E-waste and the digital transition: Results from a survey of US households.
Until now, only rough estimates were available for the number of televisions (TVs) added to the growing stockpile of obsolete TVs by the June 2009 federally mandated digital transition. This event caused millions of Americans either to replace functioning analog TVs with digital units and purchase cable or satellite service, or to purchase subsidized analog-to-digital converter boxes. In this context, this paper makes two contributions based on results of a survey of 3,156 U.S. households conducted between the end of December 2009 and January 2010. First, we estimate the number of analog TVs that were retired as a result of the digital transition and we analyze the socioeconomic characteristics of the households affected. Second, we quantify the volume of nine metals (antimony, cadmium, chromium, copper, gold, lead, palladium, silver, and zinc) contained in these retired TVs. Our results are important to understand the e-waste consequences of the digital transition and to inform U.S. e-waste policy.