Electric waste is a rising problem. Where do you think all your old electronics end up? Most of them usually end up in landfills, where they stay for literally forever. They not only don’t decompose, moreover, they also pollute their surroundings. Although many companies are coming up with eco-friendly gadgets, these gadgets rarely focus on this aspect of the problem. Therefore, in order to solve it, we need to look for alternative solutions. Therefore here, in this article, we would tell you about how to recycle your old TV and other electronics. We believe that if all of us take even a tiny step towards sustainability, it would ultimately help us in avoiding grave consequences.
What happens to your old TV?
Your TV may be the latest digital one, allowing you to watch your favorite shows on brand new tech. So what do you do with your old TV? You might have one lying in your attic or garage for a month, a year or even a few years as you don’t know how to dispose of it. Getting rid of TVs and other electronic devices is quite troublesome. The responsible way is to recycle your e-waste so that they don’t end up in landfills and contribute to environmental pollution.
How to recycle your old TV
With the advent of flat screens, everybody got rid of their old TVs or are getting rid of their old TVS, both smaller flat screens and old CRT TVs. There are millions of CRT TVs stored in people’s homes, basements and garages. The figure might be close to 30 million TVs, just in the US. CRT TVs last for about 20-30 years and they’re also very heavy, as you well know.
You, along with many others may have found it cumbersome disposing off your TV because of it being so heavy, so it just lies there in the home. And if you’re an environmentally conscious person, you may have wanted to recycle it, but didn’t know how to recycle your old TV.
Can the old technology be recycled?
Recycling old tech like CRT or cathode ray tube TVs is quite possible. This is the part of the old TVs which gave TVs their bulging shape behind. Old TVs have fragile screens too which make them fragile and heavy.
You (and all of us, for that matter!) should know how to recycle your old TV, as they contain very polluting chemicals. One TV can contain approx 8 pounds lead, with cadmium based phosphorus layer as well as other poisonous heavy metals. Usually, CRTs are not a threat to health, but it’s when they end up in landfills and the toxic substances leak out, that they become dangerous. The toxic substances leak out into the ground, air, and waterways, contaminating them. Circuit boards, copper wiring, plastic, wood are other materials inside these old TVs. Now, it’s possible to recycle large electronics like CRTs and old flatscreens.
Challenges in recycling old TVs
Disposing of old TVs and other electronics, classified as e-waste is challenging. This is because the recovery of lead (which can be used in car batteries) is expensive. Besides, there is hardly any demand for CRT glass, which finds very little takers for it in the recycle market.
Recycling old tech such older flatscreens with in-built LCDs inside the screens is difficult as they can have up to 20 mercury tubes. Mercury is a highly toxic metal which can cause severe health problems in humans if inhaled and ingested or due to skin contact. LCD flatscreens have to be taken apart carefully, as the mercury tubes might be ruptured.
Steps to recycle CRT TVs and LCD flatscreens
1. Don’t keep it on the curb
If you put it out on the curb thinking that someone might want it, well, nobody wants CRTs anymore! It will just stay out in all weather, and might be damaged due to rain. This will make disposing of it even more of a problem for you. Besides, it will make your curbside view quite ugly.
2. Don’t put it in trash
If you want to dispose of a flat screen TV or CRT, don’t ever put it in the trash. It’s illegal and will also harm the environment.
3. Send it to a certified vendor
The only way how to recycle your old TV is to send it to certified vendors who recycle e-waste. You can find them online in sites such as earth911.com. Just drop your old TV/TVs at these centers, thus disposing them off responsibly.
Stores/brands which will take back your old television
If you’re wondering how to recycle your old TV, there are some stores and television brands which take back old TVs and electronics and recycle them. Here are a few of them:
1. Best Buy
Best Buy has apparently recycled over 1 billion pounds of electronics since it started the e-waste recycling effort in 2009. Though you have dropped off your TV for free earlier, these days they charge $25 ($10 for the TV and cost of $10 for a gift voucher at Best Buy), for an old TV.
In US, Sony has about 200 stores where you can leave your TV, of any shape and size. Most of the stores accept Sony e-waste for free and accept other brand for a tiny fee. If you’re buying a new TV from Sony, it will collect the old one at the time of delivery if you want.
LG has a nationwide recycling program for TV sets and accepts their own TVs, as well as Goldstar and Zenith brands. TVs, computer monitors and other electronics belonging to these three brands are also accepted. You can drop off up to 5 items per day at no fee.
4. Sharp, Toshiba, and Panasonic
These 3 companies launched their company which manages e-waste disposal and collection, caller the Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management. TVs and other e-waste of these 3 companies are accepted for free, but you have to pay a nominal fee for other brands.
This is a reliable site to find a recycling facility. Most Goodwill stores will accept working TVs only but some will take any set for free. Some might charge $10-$20 to accept a set which no longer works.
Donating is a great option too. There are many NGOs, schools, shelters etc which can use working CRTs and other TVs. People who can’t afford a TV can use working CRTs and someone might be happy with your old LCD TV.
Thinking how to recycle your old TV is no longer as much of a challenge as it was before. You can drop it off at the stores of the brands above or donate it and thus save the planet from old TV pollution.