woman with analog TVAnyone with a working TV set has likely seen the ubiquitous ads educating the public about the Feb. 17 switch to all-digital broadcasting. But millions of Americans still aren’t prepared and could miss out on important news and emergency broadcasts — a fact that has led President-elect Barack Obama to urge a delay in the transition.

Such a delay could be a perfect opportunity for manufacturers to improve their recycling programs, say activists from the Electronics TakeBack Coalition. The ETBC recently put together a report card ranking the major TV companies on their take-back policies. Highest-ranked Sony got a B- for leading the pack with the first national take-back program, but more than half of the 17 companies got failing grades for having no programs in place at all.

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This week, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, ETBC has been calling attention to the lack of take-back programs — and the electronic waste that will be created when a "tsunami" of analog TVs hit the landfill — with a cadre of TV zombies (see video below). [Note to ETBC: Didn’t you get the memo about vampires being the undead of the hour?]

In related e-waste news, Greenpeace has released a new report on green gadgets. Their second annual survey of eco-friendly products from 15 major electronics brands indicates movement in the greenward direction — with fewer products containing PVC plastic and other harmful chemicals, more energy-efficient LED displays in use, and more post-consumer recycled plastic in TVs and monitors.

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But don’t let that news spur any shopping sprees … the greenest gadgets are the ones you already have.