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How to Recycle a TV (8 Tips) – All You Need to Know!

old tv television on a wood table

An old television can occupy ample space in your attic, especially if it’s a heavy cathode-ray tube (CRT) set. While you can’t just throw it in the trash bin, you can recycle it in some easy ways.

TV sets are not treated the same way as other electronics. In fact, many recycling companies refuse to take televisions, as they contain harmful chemicals. Thus, these appliances must be dealt with by professionals only.

Instead of throwing your old TV in the trash, you can look for a recycling program in your area or contact the waste disposal company. You can also donate or sell it online to people interested in your TV model.

Want to know more? This post will give you deeper insights into TV recycling and eight tips on how to do it. So, let’s dive in!

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How Are TVs Recycled?

If you have recycled your computer or smartphone before, you might think TVs are also recycled the same way. However, that’s not true. TV components are very valuable and expensive, but they are made of harmful materials.

The recycling professionals separate the TV components individually and deal with them one by one. That’s how they ensure safety.

When you take your TV set to a recycling center, the experts check the appliance to see if it can be fixed for reuse. That’s because reusing a TV set is easier than breaking it down for recycling. If the professionals find it useless, they dismantle the TV set to separate its components, including the metal frame, screen, and plastic shell.

The rest of the TV is sent to a shredder installed with magnets. The device removes iron and steel from your TV’s remains. Next, the residual materials, such as copper, tin, aluminum, titanium, and gold, are filtered out through other mechanical techniques. Then, the water-separation process separates glass and plastics.

Once the components are separated and treated, they are used to build new electronics or sold for money. So, as you see, the TV recycling process can’t be done at home; you must hand over your appliance to professionals.

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The 8 Tips for Recycling Your TV

Recycling your TV on your own can be challenging, but you can let the professionals do the job. Here are eight tips you can dispose of or recycle your TV efficiently:

1. Call a Waste Disposal Company

Man mounting new TV on the wall
Image Credit: M-Production, Shutterstock

Your first option is to call the waste disposal company in your area to search for a recycling website. Unfortunately, many countries don’t allow residents to leave electronics outside the house for the garbage company. Similarly, some companies may also have strict rules against this form of disposal.

If you’re lucky enough, you may find a waste company that lets customers drop off old TV sets at a specific recycling location. Some companies require you to show a driver’s license or your home’s utility bill to access the site. Depending on the policy, you can drop other electronic items, including cameras, cell phones, copiers, CD players, etc.

2. Search for a Recycling Program

worker who recycling tv on recycle center
Image Credit: Lopolo, Shutterstock

Another option is to find a recycling program in your town. Many cities have pick-and-drop options for large electronic items. If you find a recycling program, you may be assigned a day to bring your TV to a specific location.

In some cities, the official recycling programs also offer pick-up services from your house for heavy TVs. You can check your city’s or state’s website to get more information.

3. Return the TV To the Manufacturer

two people carrying a television
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

Many TV manufacturers accept TVs from their customers for recycling. So, you can contact your TV set manufacturer to know whether your unit is eligible for this service. Alternatively, you can check out the brand’s website to get the information.

In case your TV set qualifies, you can even get some cash in exchange for your TV. The representative will call you and ask you to leave the TV at your nearest drop-off area. They will also guide you about the company’s recycling policy.

Also, make sure that you also have the TV’s receiver. Many manufacturers won’t accept the TV without it.

4. Resell the Appliance

two people exchanging payment for goods
Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska, Pexels

No matter how old your TV is, it can never lose its value in the market. There are still some people out there who prefer older TV sets for personal reasons. These are easy to sell on sites like Craigslist and eBay.

Another option is to organize a garage sale and put your TV up front. If the set is old, you should set the price low.

5. Scrap the Metals

copper wire cables scrap metal
Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

If you don’t want to hand over your TV to any company, you can do the scrapping yourself too. While televisions contain harmful materials, they still have many precious metals you can salvage and sell.

But to do the scrapping, you must know how it is done correctly. Search for tutorials on YouTube or ask people who have done television scrapping before. The process could be time-consuming, but it is worth the hassle.

6. Sell to a “Scrap for Cash” Business

Copper Scrap
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Another way to recycle a TV is to sell it to a “Scrap for Cash” company. These businesses take old televisions and electronics and pay customers for the valuable metals. This is a good option if you have many electronics lying around.

However, before opting for this option, you must research thoroughly and choose a reputable company. A few people have complained about these businesses paying less than the market price.

7. Donate It

Stack of retro vintage televisions stacked
Image Credit: guruXOX, Shutterstock

Donating the television to a local non-profit organization is an excellent way to recycle your TV. If your TV is still working and can be reused for several years, then donating it to someone in need is also good for the environment.

However, only show up at a charitable organization with your TV set after confirming whether they need it. Forcing any NGO to accept an item is never cool. So instead, you can check on Donation Town to find a local charity that wants TVs and electronics. Then, contact them and recycle the TV.

Some local community centers and schools also accept TVs. You can also check with homeless shelters, nursing homes, and churches to see if they want a used TV. Some of these places also have programs that deliver televisions to needy people.

8. Offer It for Free

electronic garbage with a television, vacuum and appliances on the roadside
Image Credit: Cora Mueller, Shutterstock

If none of the above tips work for you, offer your TV on social media or to your circle for free. Take clear pictures of the appliance, mention its description, and post them on social media platforms. Within a few minutes, you’ll receive loads of messages from people inquiring about the TV.

You can also ask your friends or family if they might like to have your TV. They can even pick the TV from your place themselves and will be grateful to you for years.

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Does Every State Treat Electronics Differently?

Yes, electronics waste is treated differently in most US states. That’s primarily because some states have stricter regulations for environmental concerns than others.

However, it could also depend on the type of waste disposal method a state uses. For instance, in some states, electronics are treated with incineration methods. Burning metals and materials can release toxic pollutants into the air.

This recycling method is common in states that use traditional landfills. You can check whether your state has landfill bans on electronics through the Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse (ERCC) website.

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Recycling older electronic appliances is an excellent way to free up space in your attic and make room for newer models. However, some electronics are more challenging to recycle than the rest. This includes television sets, especially the older, bulkier ones.

The recycling treatment of TVs may differ in every state. Depending on your state’s rules, you can dispose of your TV in many ways. For example, reselling it, sending it back to the manufacturer, donating it, or offering it to your friends and family for free.

Regardless of what option you choose, always consider its impact on the environment. Happy Recycling!

See Also: How to Recycle VHS Tapes (7 Great Tips)

Featured Image Credit: KsanderDN, Shutterstock


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