The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is challenging electronics retailers and television manufacturers to increase the collection and responsible recycling of discarded TVs, according to a recent press release. Americans discarded nearly 27 million TVs in 2007 and an additional 99 million piled up in closets, basements, and garages. Recycling TVs helps to conserve natural resources and reduce energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants related to the extraction and processing of virgin materials.

The recycling challenge, part of EPA’s Plug-In to eCycling program, will run through August 2009. EPA will evaluate the entries and recognize the most innovative initiative to recover and recycle discarded TVs in the U.S. Later this fall, EPA will select a winner based on criteria that include cooperative partnerships, innovation, longevity, consumer outreach, accessibility, pounds of TVs collected, and ability to ensure that responsible recycling practices were followed.

Several industry leaders, including Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba (through the Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company, a recycling consortium), have already accepted the challenge and are expanding their current recycling opportunities.

Plug-In to eCycling is a partnership between EPA and leading consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers that fosters opportunities for consumers to donate or recycle their used electronics. Since the program’s inception in 2003, Plug-In partners have recycled more than 200 million pounds of electronics.

For more information about the TV recycling challenge, visit