Don’t Throw Your Old TV-Out


There are better options than just leaving it out on the curb

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It can seem like a pain to figure out how best to recycle or dispose of electronics properly, but it’s worth it. While you might go through many TVs in your lifetime, we’ve only got one planet, after all.

Whether you’ve recently replaced your old LED TV with a fancy new OLED or QLED TV or have a boxy CRT TV gathering dust in your basement or garage, there are much better ways to pass on these complex devices that have brought you hours of comfort and joy than dumping them unceremoniously on the sidewalk. Here are some options to consider before (or, hopefully, entirely in lieu of) simply throwing your old TV in the trash or on the curb.

I used to rescue CRTs (tube TVs) from sidewalks all the time, and I’ve never once brought one home and found that it didn’t work. It’s a little baffling that someone would take a perfectly functional TV and just toss it out, but it happens all the time.

If you’ve got old TVs sitting around that still work—be them flat-screen or CRT—consider donating them instead. Try calling up your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or even a school or public library, and see if they’re in need of a TV. We’ve donated all manner of TVs to the Goodwill around the corner from our office, so we’re here to tell you that it can be easily done. Try Googling “donate electronics.”

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Have a yard/garage sale

If you’re looking to get rid of some stuff anyway, why not have a good ol’ fashioned yard or garage sale? If you’ve still got a functional TV—especially a newer LED TV as opposed to a CRT—there’s a good chance someone will want it, and you can make a few bucks, too.

The only caveat here is you might need to prove that the TV still works. You can just plug the TV into an extension cord outside if need be. Unless it’s raining or snowing, most TVs are fine to operate outside for a few hours. You’ll also want to try to track down the remote control and pop some working batteries into it—you’re much more likely to sell the TV this way.

Online sale or giveaway

If you don’t have enough stuff to get rid of for a full yard or garage sale, you can always try selling the TV somewhere like eBay, though making a profile and dealing with shipping puts a lot of folks off of this method.

If you’ve already got a Facebook account, Facebook Marketplace is a great way to keep things simple and local: Just snap a picture of your old TV, suggest a reasonable price point (even if that’s $0), and brace yourself for eager strangers.

In fact, there’s a healthy slate of options for selling or donating your stuff locally these days, including:

Recycle your TV

If you can’t pay your old TV forward (or it’s absolutely toast), recycling it is the next best thing. Most states and districts have e-waste services that will allow you to recycle your old TV, and finding them is pretty easy.

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Check out the EPA’s website, where you can learn about electronics donation and recycling and find plenty of resources to help you locate a local service or recycling center.

If you’ve got a local Best Buy or Walmart, many of those retailers also offer a haul-away service, though you may have to pay a disposal fee. Best Buy in particular accepts CRTs under 32 inches and flatscreen LED TVs under 50 inches—for a $30 fee. But that’s a small price to pay for a clear conscience.

Best Buy also offers a haul-away service when you replace your old TV with a new one. The haul-away fee is only $29.99, which is great, assuming you need to buy a new TV. It’s a lot pricier to get your TV picked up when you aren’t replacing it, but it can be done.

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