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Old televisions actively reused and recycled in Finland: “Last year almost 99% of television waste was reused”

The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom looked into the fate of old televisions in Finland by surveying the recycling habits and knowledge of Finns. According to the survey*, 82 per cent of Finns consider it easy to recycle a television and most people buy a new television only when they really need one.

According to a recent survey, Finns actively recycle their old televisions. 75 per cent of respondents felt recycling an old television is important or very important, and 81 per cent knew where to take their old devices for recycling. Respondents also considered it easy to recycle a television in Finland. 61 per cent of respondents preferred municipal recycling centres, where televisions can be taken conveniently and free of charge.

These attitudes are also reflected in practice: 63 per cent of respondents said they had recycled their previous television. The majority of respondents who had not recycled their televisions said they had sold the old television or used it at a summer house.

Young people happy to give old televisions to family or friends, older people prefer using a television until it stops working

The importance of recycling was highlighted in all age groups, but recycling methods varied according to the respondent’s age. In the age group 50 to 59 years, 43 per cent of respondents said they buy a new television only when their old television stops working. In the age group 18 to 29 years, 38 per cent of respondents preferred donating their televisions to family or friends, while only 12 per cent of respondents aged 60 to 69 years considered this important. Young respondents were also the most eager to sell their old televisions. Of older respondents, 39 per cent considered it not at all important, while only 8 per cent of young respondents said they could never sell their old television. None of the respondent groups showed great interest in donating an old television to charity.

“Recycling old, broken televisions is very important. Nearly all parts of the material used in discarded televisions and monitors can be further used. In 2020, approximately 98 per cent of the materials in recycled equipment was reused as raw material for industry, and only less than one per cent was directly incinerated or disposed of. A part (1.2 per cent) of the devices is also repaired for reuse,” says Arto Puumalainen, managing director of SERTY, a producer association for importers and manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment.

Finns usually replace their televisions with a new one when the technical features of the old device no longer meet their needs (45 per cent of respondents). 36 per cent of respondents said they buy a new television only after their old one stops working. Only 7 per cent of respondents changed

televisions to keep up with the latest technology. On average, people in Finland change televisions every 5–10 years.

Finnish households fairly well prepared for the HD transition

In the near future, free-to-air terrestrial TV channels will fully migrate to DVB-T2 technology that enables high-definition (HD) broadcasts. HD broadcasts come with a sharper image and livelier colours. After the transition to DVB-T2, televisions will need to be equipped with an HD tuner. The majority of Finnish households (87 per cent) already have at least one television that is compatible with the new technology required by future broadcasts. The share is slightly lower (74 per cent) in households receiving only terrestrial television.

“No final date has yet been set for the transition to HD. The decision is made by television companies,” says Tiina Aaltonen, project manager responsible for the HD transition at Traficom.

* The survey was conducted by surveying the Norstat consumer panel in October 2021. Responses were gathered from 1,109 Finns aged between 18 and 69 years. The survey used quota sampling to ensure the sample was representative at national level in relation to gender, age, residential area and socio-economic factors.

Enquiries:

Tiina Aaltonen
Project Manager, Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom (DVB-T2/HD transition)
+358 295 390 526
tiina.aaltonen@traficom.fi 

Arto Puumalainen 
Managing Director, SER-tuottajayhteisö ry (SERTY)
+358 50 438 2635
arto.puumalainen@serty.fi 

Television Week 2021
The national Television Week is celebrated from 18 to 24 October 2021. The theme week is a campaign organised by TV broadcasters and device manufacturers and retailers. Traficom supports the campaign communications with TV broadcasters. This year, the focus is on raising awareness about the importance of recycling old televisions.

Checklist for recycling televisions:

  1. If you or your family and friends have no use for the television at home or at a summer house, for example, or the television is old or broken, you can find your local recycling station by visiting www.kierratys.info (under Electrical equipment) or the website of your local waste management company.
  2. Old televisions can be recycled free of charge.
  3. Recycling is easy: most towns and cities have several places that recycle televisions. These recycling and waste collection points always have staff to answer your questions about recycling.
  4. You can also take your old television back to a shop that sells televisions, if you buy a new one from the shop.
  5. As a rule, televisions should be recycled in one piece, without packaging.
  6. Old televisions must never be placed in mixed waste containers or open-top skips in the streets or in courtyards. By taking your old television to an official recycling or waste collection site, you will ensure it will be appropriately recycled, primarily in Finland.
  7. The same instructions apply to recycling computer monitors.

Did you know this about recycling televisions?

  • In 2020, approximately 2,500 tons of televisions and monitors were recycled. Some 1,500 old televisions were put directly in further use.
  • Recycled televisions go through a multistage process:
    • First, the televisions are taken from collection points to processing plants. At the plants, they are pre-processed by removing all harmful substances, such as lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium.
    • After pre-processing, various metal, plastic and glass parts are separated from the television by manual and mechanic processes. The sorted materials are crushed and delivered for further use.
  • Last year, a vast majority – 97.85 per cent – of recycled televisions and monitors were reused as raw material. 1.2 per cent of the recycled equipment was directly reused, while less than one per cent of all material was incinerated or disposed of.
  • Various metals and plastic parts used in televisions are the easiest materials to recycle. The characteristics of metal make it possible to return the material to its original use, and it can
  • be reused in mobile phone parts, for example. Recycled plastic, on the other hand, can be used to manufacture new products, such as car parts or plastic bags.
  • Separated metals, plastic and glass are mainly used in Finland.