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Panasonic, Sharp Fend Off The ‘Undead’

Although Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba recently revealed plans for a national unified TV and electronics recycling initiative, it was not enough to assuage the angry screams of a group called the Electronics TakeBack Coalition (ETBC), which staged a Halloween protest in Times Square.

The group assembled ETBC supporters dressed as “zombies” to represent “the millions of old but still functioning undead toxic TVs.” The group said it directed its wrath at Panasonic and Sharp for having large TV market share positions and failing to establish free recycling centers for their old equipment in every state in time for the DTV transition effort, which is due for completion on Feb. 17, 2009.

However, the companies did announce the rollout of what will become a comprehensive nationwide recycling program over the next three years to enable consumers to take back old TVs and other components without charge.

The recycling program, which is being coordinated by Electronics Manufacturers Recycling Management (MRM) of Minneapolis, kicked off in several states in November with the goal of expanding to all 50 states with hundreds of additional sites over the next three years, the CE manufacturers said in separate statements.

Products from all three companies will also be accepted at the locations, with potentially more to follow. More than 160 sites are now available in 10 states, MRM said.

Sharp said it will also accept consumer drop-off of Sharp televisions and consumer electronics products at its headquarters in Mahwah, N.J.

Minneapolis-based MRM said it is seeking to build sufficient volumes to maximize efficient collection by bringing together the electronic product manufacturing community into a voluntary national program to handle America’s e-waste recycling needs.

Initial states included in the effort include: California, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.