If you've recently purchased a new rig, replaced your monitor, or simply have an old one lying around, you might be looking into computer monitor recycling. Many places have laws to prevent the dumping of computer monitors and televisions, so throwing it to the curb might not be an option for you. There's also the matter of ethics and your responsibility to the environment.
So, that leaves you with a few options. You can re-use, sell, or donate your monitor, or hand it over to an e-waste recycling program. Many recycling programs have been established across North America, and they're dedicated to making sure used monitors aren't tossed in landfills to rot.
However, there are some things you should know about what your monitors contain, how they can hurt the environment, and how to find a reliable recycling service. Not all recycling programs are trustworthy, and it's up to you to find one to whom you can confidently hand over your monitor.
What's In Cathode Ray Monitors?
Similar to CRT televisions, CRT monitors use the same core concept and technology. While they performed well for the time, many people have switched to LCD over the years, leading to a massive influx of unwanted CRT monitors and televisions. However, the chemicals and components within CRT monitors are hazardous and must be handled and disposed of properly.
When left to rot, these monitors slowly degrade, allowing toxic chemicals and heavy metals to enter the soil. From there, they can find their way back into the human ecosystem through plants and animals. If mishandled, these heavy metals can harm those tasked with recycling them.
The most notable metal contained in CRT monitors is lead -- some old monitors can contain up to four pounds inside the glass vacuum. They also contain cadmium, which is highly toxic, and small amounts of arsenic. Flame retardants used in many electronics are also highly toxic when disposed of improperly.
What's In LCD Monitors
LCD monitors have largely replaced CRT in most homes, but that doesn't mean they aren't detrimental to the environment when dumped or thrown away. LCD monitors, or liquid-crystal display monitors, use crystals that change color according to an electrical charge.
While they don't contain as many harmful chemicals as their predecessors, they still contain heavy metals like lead. There is less of this substance than before, but some models contain small amounts of mercury instead. As you'd expect, these heavy metals can have a negative impact when left to rot or handled by ill-prepared recycling teams.
Assessing Your Options
While this article focuses on computer monitor recycling, not all monitors need to be recycled. Before you dust your hands of your old monitor, you can always try to pass it along to someone else or re-purpose it for another cause. Many programs have been established to provide electronics to low-income homes, and online marketplaces like Craigslist exist to help people sell their old items.
If you have the tech knowledge, you can also revitalize old monitors for a new cause. If you have the time and patience, there are many ways you can try to extend the usable life of your monitor, as well as the potential to recoup some of its cost.
Repurposing is a trend that's picking up speed, and more and more people are posting guides and ideas online. Just searching "CRT monitor repurposing" can reveal quite a few tutorials and photos of people's creative refurbishing. While this hobby can be dangerous if done improperly, it can also be rewarding. LCD monitors can also be re-used as televisions, digital displays, and even smart-mirrors.
As long as a device still works, it still has value to someone. If you don't mind holding onto it for a little while longer, try listing it online. No matter how old it is, someone might have an interest in paying you for it. Just make sure to attach a photo of it operating, or people might be suspicious. You can also try donating it. Schools, libraries, and thrift stores are excellent places to ask.
If the monitor is broken, obsolete, or otherwise useless, you might be better off recycling it. Many people have held onto their old CRT monitors because they aren't sure what to do with them -- they're heavy and cumbersome, and most people have made the switch to LCD. However, many recycling programs accept these monitors for a small fee.
Computer Monitor Recycling Services
Currently, CRT recycling is an expensive process that doesn't exactly pull much profit. For that reason, many recycling programs are charging to accept CRT monitors and televisions. CRT technology was made before environmental concerns were a serious issue, so they aren't the most recycle-friendly electronics.
However, most people are happy to pay a small fee to get these clunky relics out of their homes. Dumping them is illegal in many places, and curbside garbage programs are instructed not to pick them up. That leaves people with one option: bite the bullet and pay the fee.
While many recycling programs do take these electronics off your hands, that doesn't mean they're doing the right thing with them. Some companies make their money by exporting CRT and LCD monitors to developing countries, where they are picked apart, burned, or left to rot.
If you've already decided to recycle your old monitor, it isn't much more of a stretch to search for an environmentally-friendly recycling program. Luckily, recycling services like Junk King offer more than just ethical recycling. Junk King takes more than just monitors and other forms of e-waste; we also accept things like appliances and furniture.
If you have a buildup of junk in your home or storage unit, they'll take it off your hands. You can check to see what we accept and plan your load accordingly. After pick-up, the junk is sorted through, organized, and recycled. Up to 60% of every haul finds new life elsewhere.
If you're interested in scheduling a pick-up, we’ll give you a price estimate and a courtesy call to let you know when we’re coming. It's spring cleaning made easy.
Ready to get rid of that junk? It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3. You can make an appointment by booking online above or by calling 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).