How to Dispose of an Old TV

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Updated January 19, 2023

Many citizens may need to find information about how to dispose of an old TV as they consider purchasing a new top-rated TV. Many of these sets and other electronic devices should not be put in the trash or set out on a curb. Because of these guidelines, many states’ websites state how to properly handle the disposal, recycling, or donation of an old TV. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study estimated that about 3.09 million tons of TVs, video equipment, cell phones, and computer equipment were ready for recycling, reuse, or disposal in 2015.

Furthermore, unwanted electronics such as fax machines and other toxic materials should not be thrown out with regular household trash. They should instead be taken to a designated recycling center for proper disposal.

Don’t forget that a lot of issues your TV has can be easily fixed, like fixing the resolution when your computer is hooked up to your TV. Although some can be more complicated, for instance, repairing a TV power board. It will be up to you to decide how much you are willing to do, but if you can repair the TV, it’s a good idea to do so to help reduce the amount of e-waste, if possible.


  • Some TVs require special disposal, especially cathode-ray tube TVs.
  • All electronics should be recycled; you can find information on the department that handles this on your state’s website.
  • You can dispose of, recycle, or donate your old TV.

CRT Disposal

Cathode-ray tube (CRT) TVs used to be common in households across the USA. However, since the switch to digital, these TVs became less and less common, though some households still store their CRT TVs.

CRT TVs pose a greater obstacle than plasma or HD TV because they contain hazardous materials. This difficulty comes from the fact that CRT TVs contain lead, which is the aforementioned hazardous material. Furthermore, CRT TVs also contain other heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium. Therefore, recycling options are limited, since recycling centers have to safely dispose of electronic waste. It is important to consider recycling options for CRT TVs before disposing of them to reduce the risk these hazardous materials may cause.

Lead poisoning causes a variety of problems for its victims, meaning that if the lead were just left sitting out, there would be greater problems for residents within a certain vicinity.

Some states feature information about the safe disposal of CRT TVs on their websites and include businesses that are qualified to remove these appliances.


Many states run an E-Cycle program with information on their web pages. For some states, this may be run by the Department of Natural Resources or the Department of Ecology. Several of these websites have links to programs that will recycle your electronics that are certified by the state. Sometimes, the state runs an electronics collection event for varying lengths, from a few hours to a couple of weeks. All of the electronics that are brought during that time should be recycled or disposed of properly.

Some retailers allow you to recycle your electronics through them. Best Buy allows you to bring specific electronics to their Customer Service counter in order to recycle them. They also offer appliance haul-away for an additional fee if you purchase a replacement TV.

The restrictions and guidelines for each of these options are listed on their website. Additionally, brands such as LG, Samsung, Sony, TCL, and Vizio can help you with the recycling of your electronics.

Whenever disposing of electronic products, electronic equipment, or any electronic material, it is important to ensure that the disposal process is done responsibly. This means using a certified e-waste recycler and participating in responsible recycling initiatives. Doing so not only helps protect the environment but also reduces the exposure of electronic waste to those involved in its recovery.


Donation or Selling of TVs

Some shops, like Habitat ReStore, accept donations of appliances. For charity shops, the sale of a TV results in a donation of at least a percentage of that cost. This money may go to a variety of things, like providing money and materials to build a house for a homeless person and their family. These shops may not take larger TV sets, so you should check with the store before you try to donate to ensure they will accept them. Additionally, some stores may not accept cathode-ray tube TVs.

There are also a number of “retro gamers” that search for CRT TVs because of the low response time, and you may be able to sell one to them. Usually, you place your TV up for sale on a website like eBay, and, if someone is interested, they bid on it or purchase it outright. This option may seem useful if you are running low on cash.

Additionally, electronics manufacturers may be interested in the TV due to its unique wiring, circuits, and other valuable materials. Beyond that, projection equipment companies may want it for parts or to recycle components like the cathode ray tube.

Now that you have gotten rid of your old TV, are you in the market for a new one? If so, it will be beneficial to know how much to expect to spend on a TV. This will help determine what type of screen technology or features you can get, like a smart TV. Smart TVs make life a lot easier if you want to stream the content you like to consume. However, you should keep in mind that with it being connected to the internet, you need to be mindful of the dangers, like hacking a smart TV camera.


Can I throw a TV in the trash?

You should not throw a TV in the trash, especially if it is a CRT model. Most states have a recycling program for older electronics.

Can you recycle a television?

Many retailers or brands will recycle a television, cutting down on the emission of greenhouse gas and pollution that would have been produced during the manufacturing process.

Why is there a Fee for CRT recycling?

CRT TVs include lead, which is a hazardous material. Because of this classification, it may be significantly harder to store or recycle these TVs, resulting in a fee from the handlers.

STAT: A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study estimated that about 3.09 million tons of TVs, video equipment, cell phones, and computer equipment were ready for recycling, reuse or disposal in 2015. (source)

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