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.

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.

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