Can You Throw Away TVs?

In most cases, it is going to be illegal to throw away a TV. Instead, you will need to look into other ways that you can recycle it.

Can You Throw Away TVs?
Can You Throw Away TVs?

TVs should never be thrown away. The ideal way of disposing of a TV is by bringing it to your local recycling center. They will make sure that as much of the TV is recycled as possible and minimize the amount of waste making its way to landfills.

Luckily, there are plenty of different methods that you can utilize. Here, we want to take a look at some of the reasons as to why you can’t throw away TVs, as well as provide you with some alternative solutions for disposing of your old television.

Can You Throw Them Away?


In almost all places in the United States, it is illegal to throw TVs into the trash. Even if they were there, no garbage man is going to collect them.

While you may be able to get away with throwing a TV away in a dumpster, it isn’t really something that we would recommend either. The last thing you want to have happen is that TV ending up in a landfill somewhere.

Why Should TVs Not be Thrown Into Landfills?

Let’s put aside the fact that it may be illegal to throw a TV into a landfill for a second. There are other reasons why you really, really do not want that TV to be anywhere close to your trash. It is for the good of the planet.

It fills up landfills

As you may well know, landfills around the United States are starting to become overflowing with garbage. You may not know this, but a lot of the garbage that we produce in this country is actually shipped overseas. We have nowhere to put it.

Landfills take up an incredibly large amount of space. Sure. The United States is a massive country. We do have a lot of empty space here. However, think about it. This is land that can be used for farming, all sorts of agriculture, etc.

When you put a landfill on a site, that land can never be used for farming. That land is effectively dead for centuries. Since the waste that we produce as a nation is going up at an astonishing rate, it won’t be long before we are taking up a lot of land.

TVs aren’t small either. Your single TV probably won’t make a difference, but nearly every household owns multiple TVs. This means millions of potential televisions that could be ending up in landfills. This is going to take up a lot of space.

Landfills are bad for communities

Landfills smell repulsive. Sure, most communities live a few miles from landfills. However, this isn’t always going to be the case.

As we fill up landfills, and populations expand, we are going to have communities getting closer and closer to populations. These communities are not going to like it.

If you own a property right now and it is close to a landfill, the cost of that property will have seen a small drop simply because of where you are located. Nobody wants to live close to landfills.

For the property market, and for our health, we really should be cutting down on the amount of trash that we add to landfills. It benefits everybody.

Landfills kill animals

Remember what we said earlier about how landfills essentially prevent anything from growing? Even when that landfill has been filled up and sealed, nothing will be able to grow there for centuries.

When something cannot grow, animals have less food available. This will kill off populations.

Remember, we are sticking these landfills in the middle of nowhere by human standards. However, no matter where we put a landfill, there will always be animals there that call it their home. Once the landfill gets going, habitats are going to be completely destroyed.

This isn’t the only issue either. The items breakdown over the course of many, many years (most of the materials in a TV will never fully breakdown). As they do, all sorts of dangerous chemicals will be released into the environment.

This can poison water supplies. It isn’t just animals that will suffer when this happens either. Humans could end up drinking from these poisoned water supplies that have been completely laden with chemicals. Honestly, it is not a good thing.

The alternative is burning

Now, there are some places that won’t put your TV into a landfill. You may believe this to be a good thing, but it really isn’t.

Places that take in your TV are probably not going to recycle the TV if they catch one. They will burn it.

TVs are made of plastic and all sorts of toxic chemicals. If you burn a TV, then an unimaginable amount of pollution is going to be thrown up into the air. Toxic chemicals. The works. You probably don’t need us to tell you that none of this is going to be beneficial to the environment, do you?

Remember, even if you live nowhere near one of these places, all that toxic smoke is going to travel, and you will likely end up breathing it in. Also, remember that all of this toxic smoke is also going to contribute to climate change, and you probably do not need us to tell you just how much of a bad thing that is going to be.

You can recycle TVs

In our opinion, if you can recycle something, you probably should. This is in light of everything that we have discussed in this section. We have a few more reasons for you later on too.

You should never just be throwing something away in this day and age, especially TVs. Nearly everything that you put in that garbage bin could potentially be used again in some way, so why wouldn’t you want to do your bit for the planet?

TVs aren’t even that difficult to recycle.

Throwing Away TVs

Can TVs Be Recycled?

Absolutely! In fact, they are an incredibly recyclable product. Your TV will likely be made up of the following:

  • Metals
  • Plastics
  • Glass

All three of those (for the most part) can be recycled. There will also be a few chemicals in a TV that cannot be recycled. The recycling company will ensure that they are disposed of in a safe manner so that they have the absolute minimum impact on the environment.

The metals inside TVs are also precious metals. This means things like gold and silver. It is in our best interests to ensure that as many of these are recovered as possible. They are vital for making the circuits in the gadgets that each of us use on a daily basis. If we aren’t recovering them, then the cost of electronics could shoot up rather rapidly.

What TVs Can Be Recycled?

All TVs can be recycled. This includes new TVs, as well as older ones. Although, when it comes to older TVs, there are better ways to dispose of them if they still work. We will talk about that shortly.

Basically, if you have a TV, then it is going to be recyclable. There is a chance that not every part of that TV will be recyclable, but you do not have to worry about that. You can bet your bottom dollar that wherever you take it, the recycling people will do their absolute best to recover as many of the materials as they possibly can.

What Are The Benefits of Recycling a TV?

So, why should you recycle TVs? There are plenty of reasons. Let’s go through them.

Keeps TVs out of Landfills

As we said previously, putting TVs into landfills is never, ever going to be a good thing. It will lead to:

  • Killing land
  • Poisoning water supplies
  • Destroying the habitats of animals
  • Pushing down property prices
  • Smell repulsive
  • Take up a lot of space

We are positive that no matter who you are, at least one of these reasons is probably going to be enough to encourage you to want to recycle.

Prevents old TVs from being burned

Again, this is something that we have already discussed.

If you don’t recycle, and that TV doesn’t end up in a landfill, then it is going to be burned. This will be setting a lot of pollution into the atmosphere. This contributes to global warming. This has long term consequences that benefit nobody.

TV Prices Go Down

As we mentioned earlier, TVs have precious metals in them such as gold and silver. Both of these materials, as you know, they increase in price as demand goes up and supply goes down. Simple economics.

If we are throwing important gold and silver back into the ground (and it cannot be recovered from that landfill), then we have to try and mine more of the stuff. This is incredibly expensive and very, very difficult to do.

By recycling these materials, we are reducing the burden on the electronics industry. Prices go down. Sure, it may only be a small amount, but every dollar saved is a good thing, right?

It isn’t just the precious metals that we need to worry about either. It is the glass. It is the plastic. Producing new materials is costly. Money is saved by manufacturers when they use recycled materials, and these savings can be passed onto the end consumer.

Pollution Goes Down

As we said, producing new materials costs money. However, this isn’t the only thing that we need to worry about.

Take plastic, for example, producing more plastic has a bigger impact on the environment than using old plastic. You have to grab oil from the ground. You have to transport it to wherever it needs to go. You have to refine it into plastic. It is a huge amount of effort.

When it comes to recycling, it is often carried out close to the places that need the materials. This means that less transportation needs to be carried out. When the materials are delivered to them, it will often be in a virtually reusable state too, with very little additional processing that needs to be carried out.

Transportation is the big one here. Think about oil. It would have to be transported on some massive boats halfway around the globe, and the boating industry is the biggest polluter on this planet. If it is recycled closer to home, then they have to be carried around on a truck. Still a polluter, but it isn’t a patch on the amount of pollution that would be pumped out of an oil tanker. Trust us on that one.

Where You Can Recycle TVs?

In some towns and cities, you can leave your TV by the side of the road and it will be collected by recycling centers. Although, do bear in mind that there are a few locations where you may have to call in advance to let them know that you have a TV that can be recycled.

Alternatively, just about every single recycling center will likely accept TVs for recycling. So, if you have one nearby, then you can just bring the TV along and they will do the work for you.

In recent years, you may have noticed that many manufacturers are now accepting returns of old TVs. This is so that they can reuse the raw materials. As a result, many major electronics chains around the United States may have a collection point that you can use. It is probably going to be worth checking them out.

Finally, there are also some companies that will come and collect any recycling from your home. Some may even pay you a small amount if they recycle your TV. Not everywhere in the United States has this sort of scheme in place. However, some do. It only takes a little bit of research to discover whether this is something that you can do in your town or city. If you can, then it makes sense to go for it. Saves a lot of effort, and you may even end up making a little bit of cash.

How Do You Prepare a TV for Recycling?

To be honest, we do not recommend that you do anything to prepare them for recycling, especially if you have an older TV.

About the only thing that you should be doing is giving the TV a bit of a clean up if it is dusty. Nothing too crazy.

You have to remember that TVs have capacitors in them. The ones that can be found in the older TVs are huge. If you go around opening up TVs without knowing what you are doing, it could kill you. The electric shock from a TV is massive. This applies even if the TV is not plugged in. This is because the capacitors will return that electrical charge.

If you are taking a TV to a recycling center, then just make sure that it is protected while it is in your vehicle. The less it is being knocked around, the better.

How Are TVs Recycled?

When your TV is recycled, the recycling center will break it up into parts. As we said, this is not something that you should be doing yourself. It needs to be in the hands of the professionals.

The TV will be put into various piles of materials, and they will be recycled separately. So, plastics will not be recycled with metals.

There will be some components that cannot be recycled. They will be sent to a landfill or at least disposed of in a safe manner. There isn’t really that much you can do about that. At least you can live safe with the knowledge that most of your TV is going to be recyled.

Once all of those components have been separated up, the following process will happen:

Grind the materials up

It almost doesn’t matter what is being recycled, the material will be ground up into small parts. This is to make it easier to deal with throughout the rest of the process. Remember, your TV won’t be recycled on its own. It is going to be recycled with tons of other recycling that ends up at the recycling center. This means that everything is going to be of a separate size.

Melt everything down

Once everything has been ground up, it will be melted down. Of course, the temperature that everything is heated up to will be dependent on the material. Plastic melts at a lower temperature than metal and glass.

This is why it is so important that the materials are ground up. If everything is of a consistent size, less energy will be required to melt everything down. This helps to reduce the amount of pollution produced by the recycling process.

Chemicals added and filtered

The materials will then have chemicals added. This helps to separate various materials up. For example, circuit boards will have precious metals, plastic, and standard metal on them. The materials will help to ensure that these components can be dealt with separately.

These chemicals will also help to ensure that the materials are as pure as possible. If they aren’t, then they can’t really be resued.

Everything will be filtered at this stage to ensure only the purest of materials move onto the final part.

Setting the materials

The final part of the recycling process involves setting the melted materials. For example, with plastics, it will likely be set into a mold. This makes it easier to package it up.

Metals may be set into cubes or sheets.

Precious metals may be set into small cubes too and, in rare cases, sheets.

Shipped off to manufacturers

Once everything is set, the recycling center sells the recycled materials to manufacturers where it can then be used to create brand new products. Your TV may not end up as a TV again. However, it may be used to make bottles, phones, and a whole host of other items!

Are There Other Ways to Dispose of TVs?

Recycling a TV is probably always going to be the best option if your TV is broken. However, there are other ways that you can dispose of your old TV if you really, really want.

Remember, as we said, you should not be breaking up the TV yourself. If you don’t have the experience, you could die.

Sell the old TV

If the TV works, sell it!

In recent years, the market for old CRT TVs that work has been on the rise. This is because a lot of people have started to get into retro gaming or watching old VHS tapes. CRTs are fantastic for this.

Even if you do not have an older TV, any new TV can also be sold relatively easily. You won’t get huge amounts of cash for it, but at least you will know that you are helping your TV to have a new life with somebody else.

Sell on Facebook Marketplace if you want the easiest sale. If you price it will, then it will probably be sold by the end of the day.

Donate the TV

TVs can also be donated to your local charity or thrift store. They are always on the lookout for new televisions because they do sell quite well. So, not only will you be doing your bit for the environment if you donate your TV here, but you will also be benefitting a charity!

Sell for Spare Parts

Older TVs can be sold for spare parts if they no longer work. You may even find that local TV repair companies may even take them off your hands if that particular TV is hard to source spare parts for. This is a great way to make a little bit of extra cash.


You should never throw away TVs. It pollutes the environment.

Luckily, they are simple to recycle no matter where you live. If you do have an old TV that you no longer want, then find some way that it can be reused. This can be through recycling or simply selling it on. Don’t just throw it into a trash can or dumpster.