Real Life

Screen Clean

What becomes of the old tellies when we change over to digital?

We’re all being told about how television is going totally digital. I’m sure hundreds, if not thousands, of New Zealanders will be buying new TV sets as this is rolled out across the country. What worries me is what will happen to all the old televisions. Most will clog up our landfills, while the rest will be thrown onto the street by people who can’t afford the ridiculous landfill charges. Is anything being done to recycle this flood of old sets?

Yes, there is. There should be no excuse for owners of out-of-date analogue sets to biff them into a landfill or throw them away. Our government is funding what is called the TV TakeBack programme.

For just $5, you will be able to deposit your old set at a local recycle point and it will be taken apart and the parts redistributed. The programme started in the South Island in March and will be rolled out to coincide with the digital switchover in each region of the country. It will be in the lower North Island and Auckland by the middle of the year and the upper North Island from September.

The Hawke’s Bay and West Coast have already started the programme, and more than 20,000 sets were dropped off to recycling centres. Residents of each area will be advised of the various recycling options by their local media. Televisions dropped off for recycling will be taken to national recycling facilities and the components will be recycled locally or sent to specialist facilities overseas.

Check out for more information.

Driving me crazy

I hate people who throw dirty water on your windscreen at intersections, then wipe it off, even though you don’t ask them. I find them intimidating – and while some will move on when you tell them, others take no notice. I’ve tried turning on my windscreen wipers and sometimes they get the message. But last week one got aggressive and started slapping my car when I did that. What can I do?

In a way, I quite like the attitude of “squeegee bandits” for getting off their bums and trying to make a buck. But if they are intimidating you, then they are not doing their job properly. It is illegal for these people to clean windscreens on a public road intersection. The only way they can work legally is to get permission from a carpark or driveway owner – someone like McDonald’s – and intercept cars there. What should you do? Certainly,

don’t pay if you didn’t agree to have your windscreen cleaned. And don’t agree if you don’t want it cleaned. Shut the windows and simply drive off. If your car is damaged, or if you simply feel intimidated, report these people to your local police.

It is difficult for the cops to catch these guys… they’re often pretty fast on their feet. But if the police get enough complaints, they are obliged to do something about it. Sure, they may just push the “squeegee bandits” to another intersection, but hopefully that’s an intersection you don’t have to use.

Do you have a consumer question for Kevin? Email [email protected], or post to Weekly Consumer, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142

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