You have replaced your bulky TV with a new flat screen, but before you throw your old one away in the rubbish bin, you need to be aware of how many toxic materials are in it, especially old-style cathode ray tube (CRT) sets.

Televisions containing cathode ray tubes (CRTs) are one of the leading causes of lead contamination in municipal waste streams. CRTs can contain up to 4 kg of lead and other toxic materials such as mercury, cadmium and arsenic. Lead is a cumulative poison that can contaminate groundwater and have harmful effects on human and animal health. By recycling televisions, waste is diverted from landfill and resources such as metals, precious metals, plastics and glass are recovered.

There are many ways of getting rid of an old TV, the best and safest option is TV recycling. This is what happens when you recycle old TVs:

  • Cathode ray tube (CRT) glass contains a high concentration of lead. This means it can’t go back into the normal glass recovery process like glass bottles. CRT glass is typically crushed and cleaned. Some CRT glass is used in manufacturing new television and computer monitors, but the move to LCD and plasma televisions means that new technologies and processes are being found to reuse this material.
  • Circuit boards are shredded down to a fine powder and separated into plastics and precious metals. This material can be reformed into a range of products.
  • Plastic casings are shredded and tested for their composition. Once identified, the plastics can be melted and extruded for use in new products.
  • Scrap metals are typically melted down to form new metal-based components.

Here are 3 ways to recycle TVs:

  1. Call a waste disposal company – It’s illegal to leave TVs and other electronics out for trash pickup, but your local waste disposal company like London City Waste Clearance will be able to pick up old TVs so they can be recycled. Give us a call to find out the process.
  2. Locate a recycling program in your area – Many cities and towns have private electronics recycling programs. Some offer the option of picking up your old TV so you don’t have to bring it in. This can be a useful offer, since old TVs tend to be extremely heavy.
  3. Research programs at electronics stores – Some big electronics stores offer free or low-cost electronics recycling. Call electronics stores or check online to see if your TV meets the requirements for free recycling.

Thinking to buy a new TV for the house? Find out more about TV recycling