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

Written by Lee Neikirk Updated August 4, 2021

Whether it's Earth Day or just a regular Thursday, we should always be mindful of our big blue marble. And it's never the wrong time to do a little research to figure out how to recycle or dispose of your electronics properly, such as your old TV. Whether you've recently replaced your old LED TV with a newer set or have a boxy CRT TV gathering dust in your basement or garage, there are much better ways to recycle or 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.

Donate it

Credit: Goodwill Most charitable organizations like Goodwill or Salvation Army will accept TV donations, though you should call ahead to check if your TV is particularly huge.I save CRTs (tube TVs) from sidewalks all the time, and I've never once brought one home or to Reviewed's office 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, 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, so I know it can be done. Try just Googling "donate electronics." You might also consider calling your local hobby shop or video game store—some older games are still played exclusively on CRTs, and the gamers are always looking for working sets. While this might be a bit more work—depending on how big your TV is—it's a much better solution than just throwing it out. Not only are you avoiding contributing to all the electronic garbage populating the ecosystem, but you're also allowing the item to continue serving a purpose for someone who needs it. It's win-win. Recycle It

If you can't pay your old TV forward (and/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.

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.

BB also offers a haul-away service when you replace your old TV with a new one for $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 ($100 or so) but it can be done.

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 dealing with shipping and creating a viable profile 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, 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:

  • Craigslist

  • Facebook Groups and Facebook Marketplace

  • Nextdoor

  • Buy Nothing

Have a yard/garage sale

If you're looking to get rid of some stuff anyway, why not have a good ole 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 grab it up, and you can make a few bucks, too. The only caveat here is you might need to prove the TV 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.

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