How can I recycle a TV?
Can you recycle a TV? Maybe you can. But in many places it's not that easy. Let's take a look at it.
First of all, televisions and other electronics do NOT go into your regular recycling bin. Some states consider electronics to be hazardous waste, so they shouldn't go in the garbage can either. In Illinois, for example, it's illegal to throw televisions in the trash. On the other hand, where I live (Cuyahoga County, Ohio), televisions and a lot of electronics are not considered hazardous waste, so you can throw them in the trash.
Why do states treat electronic waste differently?
The discrepancy may simply be due to the fact that some states are less strict when it comes to the environment. It may also have to do with the type of waste treatment used in a particular state. If a state uses incineration methods to dispose of waste, the incineration of electronics can cause some pretty nasty and toxic air pollutants. States that use traditional landfills may be less concerned about this.
Don't throw away that old TV!
Regardless of the laws in your state, hopefully you don't want to throw your TV in the trash. But if it's not in the garbage, and not in your curb, where do you have to throw your old TV?
If you read my article about recycling cell phones, you'd probably think that a TV is recycled in much the same way as a phone or computer, because it looks like they have similar parts. But many e-waste recyclers don't and won't take televisions with them. Here are some disposal options.
How to get rid of an old TV?
Don't assume that your old TV has no value. There are people who want and prefer older televisions for whatever reason. Check some websites like eBay and Craigslist to see if someone is selling a television like yours and what they ask for it. (Be aware that the asking price is not necessarily the price they actually get for it). If you can see that all the units like yours have recently sold, you may be able to do the same.
Disassemble it for the precious metals.
Televisions, such as computers, do contain some precious metals such as gold, aluminum and copper. I don't know why many e-waste recyclers won't take TVs, but I think they either need more time to deconstruct or they contain a smaller amount of metals and therefore are not considered worth dealing with. Either way, if you feel diligent, you could do the demolition yourself and see what you can save that could be of value. Search YouTube for how-to videos on "scrapping television for metals" and the like for lots of tutorials.
Sell to a "Scrap for Cash" company, but beware.
If you have a bunch of old televisions or other electronics, there are companies that take them and pay you something for the value of the metals they contain. But do your research and beware, because some of these companies have complaints about not paying fairly. Check with the Better Business Bureau, ComplaintsBoard.com and ScamBook.com to see if the company looks shady.
Check with the local non-profit organizations that can accept this kind of business. Organizations such as Donation Town can help you find a local charity that may be able to find a use for your TV. (DON't just show up at a charity and try to drop it off - make sure that your donation is wanted. Forcing a charity to figure out how to get rid of stuff they can't use is never cool).
Offer it to whoever wants it.
Take a picture and put it on your social media and see if anyone wants it. You could also offer it to your local Freecycle group. Someone might like to come and get it.
My community does television drop-off days twice a year. Your community can take them to a drop site along with other electronics, especially if there is a ban on sending electronics to landfill, they should offer another way to throw them away. Contact your local solid waste department to see what their collection policy is or to see if they can recommend a certified e-waste recycler in your area that they can take with them.
Last resort - Best Buy
Nothing against Best Buy, but this option will actually cost you money, and I will do everything in my power not to spend money if I don't have to. But if you've exhausted all your other options and you don't know what else to do, Best Buy in any state (except Pennsylvania and Connecticut) will take your old television for $25. (Although if you live in California, luckily you, the fee is waived!). Check the Best Buy Recycling page for the most current details.
Was this article helpful?151 Posted by: 👨 Ralph L. Mulford