Spectrum digital switch: What to do with old televisions?

Posted at 1:29 PM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 15:20:32-04

Now that Spectrum has switched its cable TV service to 100% digital, many people are finding they have extra, old televisions that will no longer work without renting a digital receiver from Spectrum.  Instead, people are choosing to dispose of old televisions - some illegally. 

The City of Buffalo said it is seeing increased numbers of old TV's turned into its full-time electronics waste recycling center at 1120 Seneca Street.  The program is only for city residents and will not accept televisions, or other electronics, from people living outside the city.  Senior citizens and those who are disabled can call 3-1-1 to arrange for pickup.  Hours of operations are M-F 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on first Saturdays of the month from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

However, some peple are putting old televisions to the curb and forgetting about a 2015 New York State law that makes it illegal.  In the City of Buffalo, you can face a summons and fine of $105 dollars for doing that.  Those caught dumping TVs anywhere in the city can face a $1,500 penalty.

Under the NYS Electronic Waste Recycling law, televisions and electronics have to be recycled and cannot be taken to landfills, left at the curb or placed in garbage totes.

But where do you take them if you live outside of Buffalo?

Goodwill and Amvets no longer accept CRT (picture tube) televisions as donations, and retailers, like Best Buy, now charge $25 for old taking old televisions and computer monitors.

Sunnking Recycling in Buffalo explained the reason is the cost of recycling CRT televisions because the picture tubes contain lead, which is very expensive to remove.  A list of electronic collection events and locations can be found on Sunnking's website:

"All the municipalities are having to deal with the problem of electronics, especially old TVs, and it is a burden," added Andrew Goldstein, Erie County's coordinator of recycling.

Erie County provides a reference list of permanent electronics recyclers:

Spectrum will be co-sponsoring an electronics recycling event with NYS Senator Mike Razenhofer on Saturday May 19, at Eastern Hills Mall from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Up to four televisions will be accepted per car in addition to other electronic devices.

A spokesperson for Spectrum sent us the following information: 

"We’ve been partnering with officials like Senator Ranzenhofer to hold similar events across upstate NY since 2012. Over that time we’ve collected more than 10 million pounds of old electronics, filling 530 tractor trailers, at more than 100 events. We have 15 events planned in 2018 across NYS.)

All TVs – new or old – will work with a Spectrum digital receiver. (The point being, there’s no need to buy new TVs or get rid of old ones - unless, of course, consumers are doing it by choice and want to get a new TV.)"

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in his report.


Take WKBW Everywhere, on all your devices.  Download below!

Phone or Tablet: Apple, Android
Set-top Device: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Alexa

Personalize your news, get the latest 7 First Alert Forecast, and watch 7 Eyewitness News video wherever, whenever.

Learn more here about what 7 Eyewitness News provides on all these devices.