Thousands of televisions were unnecessarily thrown away over the summer because of confusion about the digital switchover, according to Ethical Consumer magazine.
Between April and September this year nearly 50,000 televisions were sent to Cumbria-Recycling Ltd - a company that handles unwanted televisions for Cumbria County Council. Of these 30,000 were able to receive digital TV by adding a set-top box.
A similar picture has emerged in the south west, which along with Cumbria was among the first regions to take part in the switch to a purely digital TV signal.
Between April and September this year Devon County Council handled over 80,000 unwanted televisions, an increase of almost 100 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Adapt your TV
Digital UK has been urged to remind the public that they don't need to throw away their old televisions.
'The message is simple: if your existing television can be adapted to getting digital TV then don’t chuck it out, but instead buy an Energy Saving Trust-recommended, low-energy set-top box. You’ll be doing the planet a favour as well as saving yourself a whole load of money,' said Simon Birch of Ethical Consumer Magazine.
A Digital UK spokesperson it was making sure this message was made clear to the public in leaflets sent to every home.
‘Viewers do not need to buy a new television for switchover – Digital UK communications emphasise this point. Virtually any set, even black and white models, can be converted using a digital box, available from around £20.
'We recognise that some consumers may use digital switchover as an opportunity to upgrade their TV and/or to dispose of analogue TV equipment sooner than they would otherwise have done.
'Where they do, Digital UK encourages consumers to buy an integrated digital TV and recycle any old equipment,’ said a spokesperson.
Digital UK - details on the digital switchover
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