Recycling your old TV – What do I need to know?

Buying a new TV is easy. But if you buy a new one, you should also make sure to get rid of the old TV properly. To protect the environment, we have created a guide exactly for this purpose: We’ll show you how to recycle your TV.

Recycling a broken TV

If your old TV is retired, it probably no longer has room in your apartment or house. However, you can’t just simply throw it away – there are exact regulations for this! Garbage collectors are not obliged to take old electrical appliances such as TVs with them. An old TV usually doesn’t even fit in the garbage can.

In addition, harmful substances can escape from the device which are harmful to the environment and your health. These pollutants include, for example, the chemical element cadmium, a toxic heavy metal. Fortunately, manufacturers like LG and Samsung are starting to use environmentally friendlier technologies.

Recycling on landfill sites

So, what to do? Garbage collectors won’t help so you (literally) must take the matter into your own hands. You should go to the nearest landfill site. Around the US, the UK, and Canada, there are multiple garbage dumps around the whole country, respectively. If you need further assistance, we advise you to contact your local waste management authority.

Recycling in your electronics store

However, it does not necessarily have to be a landfill or a recycling site. You can also return your electrical appliances at selected markets. You can also return large appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators or electric cookers to wholesale stores such as Walmart or BestBuy, which have dedicated recycling programs. They will then take care of their proper disposal for you.

The return is free of charge as long as you bring the device personally. If you don’t want to drop by in person, you can also simply order a forwarding agent to transport the large equipment. This can be combined particularly well if you receive a new device! In some cases, the shipping supplier will take the old device back with him free of charge as long as you have asked for the old device to be disposed of free of charge when buying a new one! Small appliances can even be sent by parcel post.

Please note that you will not get a refund of the purchase price or the residual value if you dispose of the goods. The service is usually free of charge, whereby extra charges may apply in some instances.

Is littering with electronics illegal?

Yes, this has been regulated by law with Electronic Device Recycling Research and Development Act passed by the respective federal government. In the US, for instance, 35 state have their own laws or are considering passing them. The acts state that disposal in household waste is prohibited and can be prosecuted under criminal law. The penalties vary from state to state.

The reason is simple. Electronic chips and circuit boards contain precious metals that should be recycled. Some old appliances even contain lead or mercury, which is harmful to the environment. However, manufacturers of modern TVs are successfully working to replace environmentally harmful substances with alternatives.

What pollutants are contained in televisions?

Modern TVs no longer contain as many environmentally hazardous substances as they did about 20 years ago. The proportion of pollutants is much higher in older appliances manufactured before 2002: heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury, flame retardants such as tetra-bromo-bisphenyl (TBB-A) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) or organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Asbestos is even found in particularly old electrical appliances, which is highly carcinogenic.

It’s a little different these days. Manufacturers pay much more attention to the production of environmentally friendly equipment. In contrast to the cathode-ray tube TVs from the last millennium, LCD screens are much more environmentally friendly and have a lower pollutant potential.

However, since TVs do not consist only of screens, the danger is not completely averted. Virtually every electronic device has capacitors that are hazardous to water. Built-in circuit boards have lead and flame retardants in the solder joints. In addition, metallic mercury is used in devices with a high current flow, which is highly (!) toxic to humans. It is therefore all the more important that TVs are properly recycled.

Basically, it can be said that about 1% of all parts in a TV are unusable. Two pounds of electronic waste contain about 13.4 mg of mercury. With 20 pounds of electronic waste, this figure increases tenfold. Therefore, old appliances should not be disposed of in household waste (or even in nature)!

Dispose of an intact TV

If your old TV is still working properly and you just want something new, that’s not reprehensible. You have various possibilities to get rid of your old TV in an environmentally friendly way. Some of them can even give you some additional income or improve your Karma count.

Selling your TV

You can easily sell your old TV on numerous online portals. From Craigslist to the Facebook Marketplace, the possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, the half-lives of devices are short and used prices drop quite quickly – but it’s definitely worth a try. Flea markets are also a place to go for sales of old TV. This of course involves a certain amount of effort.

Giving your TV away

If you have a merciful streak, you can of course simply give your TV away to friends or family. Just ask your acquaintances, it probably won’t hurt! Provided, of course, that you can afford to give away a television – not everyone can. Especially younger family members are very happy about such a gift and the devices will continue to be used – which is good for the environment!

Donating your TV

If both friends and family are served with TVs and you still want to do something good, you can of course simply donate your old device. Schools, emergency shelters or aid and development organizations always need donated equipment and other items. That’s good for your Karma count! Find out on human-i-t.org where you can donate your old device and do something good.

You’re ready for a new TV?

If you’ve got rid of your old device and now feel like doing something new, you’re welcome to use our tvfindr to find a new TV that exactly meets your needs. But even if you’ve already decided on a new TV, you’ll still find the best deals on the latest TVs on tvfindr. So feel free to drop by!

This post is also available in: deDeutsch


* Approximate price incl. VAT, plus shipping costs // Last updated on 5. December 2019 at 20:12. Please note that prices shown here may have changed in the meantime. All data without guarantee.
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