Televisions are a ubiquitous part of most homes, providing entertainment, information, and more. However, with rapid technological advancements, many consumers find themselves frequently upgrading to newer TV models with enhanced capabilities and end up wondering what to do with their old TV.

Proper disposal of old televisions is critical, as they contain materials like lead and mercury that can be harmful if released into landfills. Simply tossing an old TV in the trash often breaks local laws and has negative environmental impacts. Fortunately, there are many options for donating, recycling, selling, or repurposing old TVs.

This definitive guide covers everything you need to know about how to responsibly get rid of an outdated television in an eco-friendly manner.

Key Takeaways

  • Do not throw away old TVs in regular trash due to environmental regulations in many areas
  • First try donating if the TV still works; many charities accept TV donations
  • Local electronics recycling programs and retailers like Best Buy offer TV recycling
  • Selling online via sites like Craigslist is an option if the TV has resale value
  • Get quotes from e-waste removal companies that provide certified secure disposal
  • Repurposing creative TV projects like retro gaming rigs or smart mirrors also gaining popularity

The Growing Problem of TV Waste

The amount of e-waste generated globally reached a record 53.6 million metric tons in 2019 according to the UN, and is expected to grow to 74 metric tons by 2030 (source). Televisions and monitors account for a large share of this growing e-waste crisis.

In the US alone, an estimated 8,500 TVs are discarded daily[1]. Many of these outdated TVs end up in landfills, where hazardous materials can leak into the environment.

Improper TV disposal has many detrimental impacts:

  • Soil and water contamination from materials like lead and flame retardants
  • Negative health effects on waste workers and nearby communities
  • Loss of recoverable resources like gold, copper, and palladium

Most areas now have strict laws prohibiting the disposal of e-waste like TVs in garbage collection. For example, a 2022 California law [2] requires manufacturers to recycle all e-waste returned by consumers to reduce illegal dumping.

“The sheer volume of electronics waste generated today makes addressing this issue critical for the protection of the environment as well as human health worldwide,” said John Shegerian, CEO of [3] ERI, one of the largest U.S. electronics recyclers.

Many consumers simply wish to upgrade their television, proper recycling of older functional units is also key to reducing unnecessary waste in the pursuit of newer technologies.

Donation: Extending Your TV’s Useful Life

What To Do With an Old TV: Our Guide to Responsible Disposal and Repurposing

If you have an older TV that is still functioning properly, donating it to charity or a local community organization is an excellent option.

Non-profits like the [4] Disabled American Veterans, [5] Salvation Army, and [6] Goodwill may accept donated TVs to resell or use directly in their programs. Be sure to call the specific location first to confirm their donation guidelines for televisions.

Some key factors to consider with TV donations:

  • Confirm the charity has electrical testing capabilities and accepts items in working order
  • TVs generally must be in good condition without any broken components
  • Newer flat panel TV donations are preferred over older CRT models due to size/weight limits
  • Wipe all personal data from the TV before drop-off using factory reset

Donating older but functional TVs keeps them circulating in local communities at affordable prices rather than tossing them out due to minor wear.

“We see donating used electronics as an important aspect of the circular economy that aims to extend product lifetimes,” said Amanda Barlow, Executive Director of [7] TechSoup. “Keeping devices like TVs in use longer reduces waste and benefits those who may not be able to afford new products.”

While local Goodwill or Salvation Army drop-off is the norm, some online platforms like [8] DonationTown also connect those looking to donate directly with recipients. This facilitates the reuse process and provides documentation.

Recycling: Eco-Friendly TV Disposal

What To Do With an Old TV: Our Guide to Responsible Disposal and Repurposing

For TVs that are very outdated, broken beyond repair, or contain hazardous materials, recycling is the most environmentally responsible option. Specialized e-waste recycling programs can safely recover valuable resources for reuse while keeping toxins out of landfills.

Many counties and municipalities operate local recycling events or permanent drop-off locations accepting old TVs and other electronics. For example, Los Angeles County residents can take items to one of eight [9] permanent sites at no charge.

“We utilize the highest industry standards in destroying and recycling all old electronics to safely recover materials like steel, copper and aluminum,” said Bill Franklin, Director of Operations at [10] eRecyclingCorps.

In addition to municipal programs, many retailers and brands voluntarily take back old TVs. For instance:

  • Best Buy accepts two TVs per household per day under 50 pounds for [11] $30 fee
  • LG, Samsung, Sony and others offer mail-back recycling of old units with free prepaid shipping labels
  • Non-profits like Blue Star Recyclers employ those with disabilities to securely recycle electronics

Consumers should thoroughly research any recyclers to ensure responsible handling and confirm any fees for CRTs or projection TVs that require special disposal. Getting TVs into legitimate recycling channels keeps them out of landfills and incinerators.

Selling Your Old TV Locally

Some older TVs still have resale value due to demand from collectors, gamers, or thrifters seeking a budget option. Vintage CRT TV models in particular have grown in popularity for creating retro gaming rigs or adding a cool aesthetic to certain room designs.

Selling an old functioning TV through local channels like Craigslist, OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace ensures it goes directly into reuse rather than scrap recycling.

Here are a few tips for successfully selling your old TV:

  • Test all functions and inputs to confirm working properly
  • Note the power consumption rating which impacts energy costs
  • Clearly state the age, dimensions, inputs etc to set expectations
  • Require local pickup only to prevent shipping damage
  • Factory reset the TV to wipe accounts and settings
  • Meet in safe public location and accept cash payments

Pricing will vary considerably based on the TV specs, age, condition and demand in your area. However, a quick search on eBay for comparable vintage models can provide a ballpark.

Be sure to follow recommended precautions when meeting strangers from online platforms when selling your TV. Prioritizing local reuse helps give electronics new life.

Creative Repurposing: DIY Upcycling Projects

What To Do With an Old TV: Our Guide to Responsible Disposal and Repurposing

Savvy DIYers are finding innovative ways to convert old television sets destined for landfills into unique upcycled projects. From custom aquariums to lighting fixtures to smart mirrors, an old TV can become the basis for exciting new interior design elements.

Repurposing an old TV into something new and artistic diverts it from landfill while giving it renewed purpose. Some popular projects include:

Smart mirrors – a two-way mirror adhered over the screen transforms the TV into a functioning mirror that can also display weather, news feeds, social media and more when powered on. Kits like MagicMirror make this easy.

Digital photo frames – setting up a streaming device like Fire TV Stick or Roku can convert the old TV into a high-tech digital photo frame displaying your favorite memories.

Funky furniture – add visual interest by embedding an old TV into a coffee table, shelving unit or cabinet front. Useful tutorials found on sites like HGTV, Instructables and Motherearth News.

Audiophile rigs – vintage TVs combined with analog radio receivers create one-of-a-kind radios for music listening. The iconic look also works for record players.

DIY video intercoms – connect an old TV to a video doorbell system or security camera using a streaming device for a custom video intercom displaying who is at the door.

For more inspiration, Etsy and Pinterest both showcase thousands of ideas for old television set projects. Upcycling unwanted electronics appeals to eco-conscious makers.

Final Thoughts From the Experts at AM Dumpster Rental

At AM Dumpster Rental & Junk Removal, we have extensive experience helping homeowners and businesses responsibly dispose of or repurpose all types electronics, including old TVs.. Our team stays continuously updated on the latest regulations, recycling standards and best practices to ensure secure, eco-friendly handling.

Rather than put damaged goods out with the trash or try to drop off at an unknown facility, contact our experts for transparent guidance. We provide all-inclusive solutions, safely transporting end-of-life electronics to certified recycling partners dedicated to preserving the environment while recovering valuable elements.

To arrange a competitively-priced haul-away of an outdated TV or other bulky electronics, give us a call at (330) 576-4220 for same-day assistance. Protect yourself, keep hazardous waste flowing into landfills and rest easy knowing your old devices will get ethically recycled.