How to recycle your TV

As tech lovers, we all need to make a greater effort to be responsible for our aging devices. After all, not everyone is aware of just how damaging e-waste can be for the environment, especially in the U.S. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, electronic waste contains lead, mercury, and hexavalent chromium, all of which are harmful to human health and the environment. This is why modern electronics cannot be dumped directly into a landfill, and why most cities are quickly moving the e-waste issue to the forefront.

We know TVs can be heavy — especially those old analog tankers — but please refrain from dragging it out to the curb or dumping it in a field somewhere. Instead, follow the suggestions below and recycle your unwanted TV the right way.

Consider donating

Instead of throwing away your old TV, try donating it. Think about it: TVs are a big-ticket item, and if you’re just going to throw it away or recycle it, then why not donate it to someone who needs it? Remember, you will most likely get a tax credit for it, and would be helping an organization in need.

Start by calling up the Salvation Army or a Boys and Girls Club in your neighborhood. Check with local schools or libraries as well. Make sure your television is still in good shape, too. It’s fine if it’s outdated, but it’s not very considerate to donate broken goods to a charitable foundation. And if it’s a smaller television set, the kind someone can carry out of a store by themselves, consider calling your local Goodwill agency and inquire as to whether they accept TV sets for donation. Some do, but some do not. Either way, try to get a receipt for tax purposes no matter where you end up donating.

Check your neighborhood

Check locally to see if your state has established e-waste recycling centers. In recent years, the number of states with recycling centers that can handle e-waste (and related regulations) has quickly grown, so it’s more likely than ever that your local recycling center will gladly take your TV, especially if you live in a city.

If you’re not sure where to look, rest assured there are online resources that can help. For instance, if you enter your zip code at BeRecyled.org, you can see local opportunities for recycling in your area.

Wait for special recycling days

Many cities now have a couple of special days a year where they offer unique recycling services to make recycling easier, especially for those with bulkier items. During these times, you can leave large items like your TV out for pickup by city recycling professionals. The big advantage here is that you don’t need to arrange transportation for a large TV, which can be a serious problem if all you have is a car.

The naming convention for these days varies from city to city, however, most are called “spruce up” or “spring clean” events. Simply check with your city to see if they hold these special recycling days, and if electronics like TVs are accepted.

Give it back

Most big-name retailers like Best Buy and Walmart have their own electronics recycling programs, as do big-name brands like Sony, Panasonic, and Sharp. The manufacturer or retailer of your television set may even reclaim and recycle it for you, so be sure to check out their website to see if the retailer or manufacturer who sold you your TV is on the EPA’s list of companies that provide the service.

Keep in mind that some limits do apply to these recycling opportunities. If you’re dropping a TV off at a store, for instance, you should always call ahead and make sure they are taking recycling items. Not all stores do, and not all stores will accept bulky items like TVs. Keep in mind that stores like Best Buy will also limit the number of items a household can bring in for recycling to three per day. Other various caveats may also apply.

Some great resources to help you on your e-recycling quest

HPE Technology Renewal Center man working
At Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Technology Renewal Centers in Erskine, Scotland, employees process electronics for recycling and upcycling, taking back both HPE equipment and other IT equipment, regardless of manufacturer. HPE

Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company

MRM Recycling, also known as Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company, works with various manufacturers and establishes recycling programs across the U.S. You can click on a map of the U.S. and get a localized view of recycling centers in your area. MRM was originally founded by Panasonic, Sharp, and Toshiba, but it now consists of 21 participating manufacturers. Good job, guys.

Earth911

Earth911 collects all kinds of environmental and sustainability information — browse around as you please! However, the site is also a powerful resource for researching all kinds of recycling information, one that allows you to search for local recycling centers, learn what can be recycled, and much more. It’s a great place to start when looking for recycling opportunities.

1-800-got-junk

This service exists specifically to deal with annoying, bulking items like TVs. You can schedule a pick up online and the team will recycle or dispose of your TV as needed. However, it’s important to check if the service is available in your area and to keep in mind that the company will charge a fee for picking up your TV.

EPA Electronics Donation and Recycling

The EPA has a lot of great information on how to properly recycle e-waste, along with a ton of tips for preparing your devices and why doing so matters.

CFES (Cash For Electronic Scrap) USA

If you schedule a recycling project with this company, it will give you a free shipping label plus shipping insurance to send your TV in. You also get paid based on what your scrap is worth! It’s probably only going to be a few bucks, but that’s better than nothing, and you get the satisfaction of knowing that your TV is being scrapped and recycled.

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