Your Old Television: Finding a Final Resting Place

By: Christine Peppler

From ever increasing screen size to newer technologies for better pictures and sound, rapid advancements in the electronics industry age the television in your living room well before it ceases to function. Whether a television is displaced from the center of our homes due to a simple desire to upgrade or due to poor performance, millions of us need to find a way of disposing of an older set each year.

Are landfills an option?

Like most electronics devices, a television can contain a number of elements that are potentially harmful to both people and the environment, making them poor residents for landfills. The various carcinogens and neurotoxins within them can potentially leach into the water system and into the air through burning, with deadly results. Not only do these oversized devices which are disposed of in the millions each year push landfills to their capacity, but many of their more valuable materials are wasted when they are not recycled. Materials such as glass, copper, and precious metals are sacrificed when an old television is relegated to a landfill.

How about donating or giving away an old television?

Certainly charity organizations such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill will take a working television and, in many instances, will arrange convenient pick up. There are even individuals who seek out yard sales looking for old electronics devices to repair as a hobby, so this presents another option for finding people interested in an old set. There are however, more convenient methods of finding others who want a castaway television if it is in working order.

Freecycle.org is an online network that allows users to post items locally at no charge. The purpose of the site is to keep hazardous waste out of landfills by connecting people who wish to dispose of items with others who are looking for those same products.

Are there recycling options?

Manufacturers are beginning to take on greater responsibility to assure that recycling becomes an easier task in the future. Reducing the number of parts, increasing the ease of disassembly, and using materials that readily recycle are examples of some of the strategies that are the focus during the design and manufacture stage. These efforts can help assure that a television or other device can be easily and inexpensively recycled. In addition, some companies are making strides in reducing the use of potentially harmful elements in the products they produce for consumers. Panasonic, for example, began manufacturing plasma displays without lead in 2006.

For the time being however there are a number of efforts related to recycling in the US but consumers will need to do some investigation to find them. Earth911.org is one site that is dedicated to recycling efforts and assists users in finding local resources to reuse, donate, or recycle their television or other items. Another option for identifying local recycling centers is plugintoecycling.org which is a partnership between the EPA and various consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers. Panasonic, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Philips, and Samsung are among some of the major television manufacturers which have become 'Plug-in Partners' that are involved in the effort to promote recycling and donation of used electronics.

As the volume of electronics waste continues to escalate and awareness of the need to recycle expands, some retailers such as Best Buy, host recycling drives. When looking for a place to take an unwanted television, it might be useful to start with a simple phone call to a few local retailers.

Although the problems posed by unwanted televisions and other electronics devices continue to grow, there are a few resources available to reduce the effect of this glut. Once consumers find they have a television they no longer need, whether it is working or not, there are others who will take it off of their hands and make the best possible use of it.

Electronics
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Electronics
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles