Electronics titans at the world's largest consumer electronics trade show united to combat "e-waste" as the deadline nears for US residents to replace analog televisions with digital models.
Mountains of old television sets are expected to be discarded in the gargantuan US electronics market due to a government-imposed shift to digital television broadcasting in 2009.
The looming deadline and a drive to show that gadgets don't have to harm nature inspired Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba to form the Electronics Manufacturers Recycling Management Company (EMRM).
"We at Panasonic are very concerned that the US is only a year away from transition to all-digital TV," Yoshi Yamada, chairman of Panasonic of North American, said at the Consumer Electronics Show that ended yesterday.
"Forming a company to recycle is the best way to develop economies of scale and create a usable and sustainable recycling system for electronics. EMRM has tremendous potential to make a substantial difference."
Panasonic heads the joint venture, which will manage recycling programs in the United States. "We have a responsibility of dealing with end-of-life analog electronics," said Panasonic chief operating officer Joseph Taylor.
EMRM claims agreements with more than a slew of electronics makers including Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Philips, Sanyo and Pioneer. The joint venture will start with programs that meet "take-back" laws requiring companies that sell gear to help recycle the stuff.