How Do I Get Rid of a Dead Big Screen TV?

By Shea Laverty

When your big screen TV bites the dust, the only way to properly and responsibly get rid of it is to recycle it at a local electronics recycling center.

Things You'll Need

  • Vehicle

When your big screen TV gives up the ghost, there isn't much you can do with it except dispose of it. As with most electronics waste, televisions shouldn't be just hauled off to the dump -- in some areas, this may even be considered a crime. Instead, toasted TVs should be properly recycled. Your options for recycling depend mostly on the recycling centers in your area.

Document the TV's Problems

Before you get started, test the TV and, to the best of your knowledge, make an itemized list of what's wrong with it. The list doesn't have to be technical, just notes about details like whether only the screen is dead but the sound works, or if the entire power supply seems dead. Any notes about physical damage may also be useful. Many recycling centers actually pass on salvageable electronics for refurbishment so they can be resold or donated to charity. Having a list lets them know whether or not the piece is worth trying to save.

Find a Recycling Center

Most major TV manufacturers like LG, Samsung and Sony have recycling programs, either directly or through third-party drop-off centers. Some but not all municipal waste management services have electronics waste programs. Some stores and companies, like Best Buy, MRM, 1-800-Got-Junk and All Green Recycling also offer electronics recycling services.

Recycle the TV

Drop-Off Your TV

Almost every electronics recycling center accepts drop-offs, usually free-of-charge. Depending on the size of the TV, you may need a pickup truck or trailer in order to get the TV to the recycling center. Call the recycling center ahead of time to make sure your television qualifies: Some centers don't accept certain types of TVs, or TVs over a certain size.

Warning

Get a friend or two to help you with moving large flat-panel TVs, as they can be quite heavy. Older CRT or projector-based models are even heavier, but may have wheels on the base to make them easier to move. Only flat-panel TVs should be lifted, other heavier units should be wheeled onto the transport vehicle, ideally using a loading ramp. If you don't have a ramp handy, you can build one yourself.Before loading the TV into the transport vehicle, drape a quilt, thick blanket or moving pad over the screen and secure it with cord or bungee cords. This protects the screen from damage in transport, and more importantly, protects you if the screen breaks.

Schedule a Pickup

If the center is able to pick up the TV, then you need to contact them and schedule a time for pick up. Most pick-up services charge a fee, especially if you are only having the company haul away your old TV. Some electronics stores offer to pick up your old TV, but only for free with the purchase of a new TV. As with drop-off services, call the center ahead of time to make sure your TV qualifies for pick-up and recycling.

Tip

Have your TV disconnected and ready for pickup before the scheduled time to save time for the people sent to pick up your old TV.

Once you've located a nearby recycling center, the only thing left to do is get your dead TV there. Depending on the recycling center nearby you, you can either take the TV to the center yourself, or have the recycling center pick up the TV from your house.