Managing Discarded Televisions

Solid Waste Management Program fact sheet
08/2017
Division of Environmental Quality Director: Ed Galbraith
PUB02332

Old televisions and other electronics contain valuable materials that can be recovered for new products. Did you know that circuit boards and other electronic components use gold, copper and other precious metals? Televisions also consist of glass and plastics as well as harmful materials, such as lead, chromium, mercury and polybrominated flame retardants. Managing discarded televisions properly conserves natural resources and prevents pollution.

Recovering and reusing materials reduce the need to mine for new raw materials, and manufacturing with recovered materials uses less energy.

What should I do with my TV if it will not receive the digital broadcast signal?

Reuse it - Even though a television cannot receive the digital signal, that does not mean everything will stop working. You still can play video games as well as watch movies and other videos with your VCR or DVD.

Recycle it – In many communities, environmentally friendly options exist to recycle an old television. A legitimate electronics recycler can remove potentially hazardous materials from inside a television. Doing this will not only help prevent those materials from accidentally entering the environment, but it also will provide valuable materials for new products. 

To recycle your TV:

Note that fees are often necessary to cover costs a recycler incurs to dispose of hazardous components. Check with the individual recycler to find out more about their services and fees.

Safe disposal – Although recycling services for TVs and other electronics continue to grow, you may find the options listed above are not available in your community. If you are not able to find a way to reuse or recycle your old TV, you will need to use a legitimate disposal option. Televisions from residences can legally be discarded with household trash. Check with your waste hauler to find out if it has special procedures or fees for collecting your TV. If you do not use a waste hauler, contact the nearest permitted landfill or transfer station.

To avoid violating solid waste laws, remember that a discarded TV: