CRT TV Recycling: How to Recycle Your Old Tube TV

CRT TV Recycling

Updated August 2018

Today fewer and fewer people in the US watch a Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) television and instead opt for flat screens. Reading this, you probably have a CRT TV stashed in your home or office, taking up valuable storage space and are wondering how to dispose it. The demise of these devices has created a unique CRT TV recycling challenge.

According to Consumer Technology Association (CTA), roughly 3 million tons of CRT devices still lurk in American homes. CRT TVs contain an average of six pounds of lead as well as other hazardous materials. It’s important that public awareness on safe disposal practices spreads. After all, the environmental consequences of improper CRT TV disposal are significant.

So here’s everything you need to know about CRT TV recycling.

The Dos and Don’ts of CRT TV Recycling

Don’t put your CRT TV on the curb – nobody wants it! If you put it on the curb, it will sit there on the curb until it gets rained on or damaged, escalating the problem.

Don’t put your CRT TV in the trash – this is illegal and harms the environment!

Do recycle your CRT TV with a certified vendor (How? See below!)

Do check earth911.com to find the closest recycling center to you!

Where to Recycle Your TV in San Francisco

If you’re a San Francisco Bay Area resident, you can drop off your old CRT TV at GreenCitizen’s Burlingame EcoCenter for free. We work with an e-Stewards certified vendor to ensure proper local disposal. It will not be shipped overseas or dumped in a landfill. If you need CRTs collected from your business, you can also schedule a free collection with GreenCitizen.

CRT TV Glass Recycling

Accredited facilities can breakdown CRT TVs with much of the material sent into raw material manufacturing. However, the several pounds of leaded glass found in each of these TVs poses an environmental safety threat. With both the decrease in demand and hazards of this glass, how can CRT TVs be recycled and reused? In 2016, California updated its 2012 law that allows placement of the glass in landfills for two years. There’s nowhere else for the glass to go because of its nonexistent demand for reuse in modern TVs!

While the technology to recycle leaded glass doesn’t exist yet, laboratory testing is underway. Other innovators are finding more uses for the glass too, like Fireclay Tile. They use the glass to make beautiful and unique tiles. Progress is being made, but we still have a long way to go!

Please do your part for the environment and visit GreenCitizen for free CRT TV recycling. Check out our item list for other free electronic recycling opportunities. Contact us today!

28 Comments on “CRT TV Recycling: How to Recycle Your Old Tube TV

  1. JEEP BOY

    EVERY TIME A TUBE IS BROKEN WE HAVE TO LEAVE THE AREA FOR FIFTEEN MINUTES IS THIS THE CORRECT PROCEDURE ? IF SO WHAT TOXICS ARE RELEASED ?

    • Ian Krohnfeldt

      Yes, leaving the room for 10-15 minutes is a safe amount of time. Make sure the room is properly ventilated because there are small amounts of mercury in light bulbs that can be released as vapors into the air. Leaving the room ventilated will allow for any vapor to mix and be diluted by the ambient air and settle onto the ground for easier, safer cleanup.

  2. Tonepoet

    Nobody is going a bit too far. C.R.Ts. are desirable amongst vintage video game players for the visual qualities dot pitch, screen curvature and scanlines impart. Laserdisc enthusiasts also appreciate that it’s an analogous type of display.

    Amongst video game players in North America, the models mentioned in this thread are somewhat sought after: http://www.neo-geo.com/forums/showthread.php?19783-RGB-Monitor-List Those accept a raw, low resolution video feed, which is something most consumer grade displays were unable to do (Europe had SCART and Japan had a similar connector with a different pinout.) Early Sony XBR monitors may also be useful for that purpose.

    The tech. hasn’t quite been thoroughly surpassed yet either. When O.L.E.D. comes down in price and new connectivity standards are implemented, it might be reasonable to say that, esp. with 4k on the horizon. Until then Models manufactred from 2000-2005 can perform just as well, if not better than most of the similarly priced displays of today, esp. in the comp. monitor market. I’m almost certain you guys realize that, since you’re trying to sell a Sony GDM-FW900 on eBay for $700 (which is admittedly an exceptional monitor).

    There were other factors that rendered these models unviable like size and weight which were just inconvenient for everybody involved. The digital transition and H.D.C.P. and the digital transition also forced premature upgrades, since you couldn’t receive direct over the air broadcasts or full resolution blu-ray video, although they’ll still work with other sources perfectly well.

    I’m primarily saying this here because I do believe reuse is ecologically better than disposal in this case since the tube’s sealed phosphors are toxic once released. I also wanted people to have a more complete assessment about when reuse may be viable. There’s also something to be said for antiquity value: The passenger pigeon used to be the most numerous fowl in the world in the 19th century but in the 20th, it went extinct and anybody who wants to see them alive now, simply can’t. I somewhat fear the ray tubes may meet a similar fate. It doesn’t make much sense to produce them anymore…

  3. Deanna R. Jones

    Thanks for the tips! The information in this article about how to dispose of CRT’s in storage will be very helpful. I’ve kept my old CRT TV after I decided to replace it with a new plasma screen TV. I agree, taking old CRT’s to our local eco-center seems like a good way to properly dispose of it. I need the extra room in my storage unit, so I need get rid of my TV. I’ll be sure to find out my local eco-center so that I can properly recycle my TV.

  4. Bill

    I have to disagree with one, slightly.

    Do not put your CRT TV on the curb – nobody wants it! If you put it on the curb, it will sit there on the curb until it gets rained on or damaged, escalating the problem.

    This is not entirely true, most do not want them but there is a small group that do, classic arcade collectors and operators. The original crt tubes that came in old arcade games are often fairly burnt out after running most of the day for many years. Knowledgeable collectors can take the tubes out of older televisions and fit them into the video circuits for the old games to give them a new lease of life. As worn as your old TV may look most of the time it’s the circuits driving the tube and not the tube itself that are bad.

  5. Omar Brown

    DO NOT DISPOSE OF YOUR CRT TV. There is a community of people who play Super Smash Bros Melee for the Nintendo GameCube on a competitive level, and the scene is growing. We are being picked up by large organizations, our prize pools are growing, and more people are excited to play. However, the optimal way to play the game is on a CRT TV in order to reduce input lag whilst playing the game. Learn about your local smash scene and how you can help us keep our game alive and well 🙂

    • Judi Holder

      I have a 27″ Emerson color tv with CRT that I can NOT give away. It is free and I’ve tried all kind of places. I live in the Roanoke VA area. Any help would be appreciated.

      • Hi Judi,
        You can visit earth911.com to find local electronics recyclers. Thank you for your question!

  6. Joe

    Actually I have recently advertised 4 old Crt Tvs by Craigslist for free and set them on my curb and they were picked up within a few hours each time!

    • James Kao

      Hi Shirley,

      Yes, feel free to use parts of the post on your blog! We would love for more people to learn about CRT recycling.

      Thank you,

      Jessica

  7. george stachura

    the world is wastefull.I recycle by rebuilding not destroying.even old laptops are saved.yes there will be a day when the people realized they made a mistake by saying old tech is dead.
    I manged to save alot of equipment going back to 2001.

  8. “Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.”

  9. “Im thankful for the post.Much thanks again. Keep writing.”

    • Tim Stewart

      I have tried to sell my 24″ CRT Toshiba TV with flat front panel with TV stand and component video cables for as low as $10 on Craigslist and Marketplace. TV is in pristine condition and was rarely used. Picture quality excellent yet not one person was interested. I offered the TV and stand etc for Free. Still, not one response so I dont agree that there are video gamers who want CRT TV’s. Now it looks like I have to pay to get rid of the TV. I am only getting rid of it because it is taking up too much space in my bedroom. No longer having a TV in the bedroom.

  10. Ahly News

    Hi there,I check your new stuff named “CRT TV Recycling: How to Recycle your CRT TV.” on a regular basis.Your humoristic style is awesome, keep it up! And you can look our website about Ahly News http://ahlawia.com/new/tag/ahly-news.

  11. Amy Martin

    I am trying to find a recycling place for my CRT TV in Arizona and I am getting nothing…Do you know of any place I can take it. It is 35″ thanks

    • Hi Amy,
      You can always check out earth911.com to find local recycling facilities. Thanks for your question!

  12. Bennie Dorion

    There are some fascinating deadlines in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There’s some validity however I’ll take maintain opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as properly

  13. Chad Morey

    “Best Blogpost! Enjoying the information on this website, you’ve done a _superb job on the content.”

  14. N

    No one not even a charity will take my old CRT TV. It’s too heavy for me to put in the car. My town doesn’t dispose of electronics. How to get rid of it without paying $100? No one wants it.

  15. DCane

    Very interesting information, I have a 19 inch CRT television and Envision computer monitor as well as two smaller CRT televisions. What venue should I use to sell or recycle to gamers?

  16. xcrazyboy92x

    Do not recycle CRT TVs if it’s working! If you’re gonna get rid of your CRT TV that STILL works good, DONATE IT or SELL IT on ebay or at a garage sale instead!! You can make some money if you do! I still use CRT TVs today for older games (especially for light gun games) because light guns won’t work on LED TVs. Games on a LED TV display poorly (UHD 4K TV display even worse). If CRT TVs take up space, so what!? I’m still going to use it! SPREAD THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE!! I’d like to see Panasonic put CRT TVs (like the 19 inch ones made in 1999!) back in production with AV inputs on front and back sides! I AM NOT GOING TO PAY AN ARM OR A LEG!!! SPREAD THE WORD!! CRT TVS SHOULD BE REUSED NOT RECYCLED!!!

  17. xcrazyboy92x

    Reuse is better than disposing working CRT TVs!!

  18. Abby

    What are the options if there is literally no CRT recycling options within an entire state (Nebraska)!! My parents have a virtually unusable TV that my siblings are planning to replace but we don’t want the old TV sitting around the house for another decade for us to deal with again later. They live in a rural community so curb-side or Craigslist isn’t a feasible option.

    • Hi Abby,
      We found a few electronics recyclers in Nebraska: Cross Electronic Recycling, Electronic Recycling Secure Solutions, American Recycling, and Midwest Electronic Recycling.
      Thank you for your question and good luck!

  19. Patrick Rivas

    Are there any places or anyone in the Virginia, Maryland, DC area that will take a large cabinet Toshiba TV. It’s the one that has built in speakers and doors that cover the front. It still works and is in good condition but takes up too much space. I also have the original remote for it that still works.

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