There isn’t a day that Tech Dump doesn’t receive a call asking about TV recycling.
When a lovely voice asks if we recycle TVs, our next question is if it’s one of those old tube-style with the clunky glass front or if it’s the newer flat panel. The reason we ask is that those tube-style, also known as CRT (Cathode Ray Tube), are very difficult to responsibly recycle and therefore we need to charge accordingly. We never want to surprise a customer with sticker shock at time of drop-off.
While many don’t realize, inside that clunky glass tube is lead, mercury, and many other toxins that need to be handled properly. Typical CRT TVs or monitors each contain 4-8 pounds of lead in the glass tube, and the inside of the tubes get coated with toxic phosphor dust. These require special handling, which is a service we have to pay for (requiring us to pass on that charge to you).
While virtually no one in the United States buys CRTs anymore, CRTs still make up a significant amount (often over 60%) of what we collect at electronics recycling events. And if you’ve ever wanted to learn about how a CRT actually works, check out the How Stuff Works post about them.
So in case you want to know if you have a tube TV even before you call, there are a few key indicators:
- If you knock on the front, it’s a hard glass. It doesn’t “give a little” like a flat-screen plasma would.
- Does it have a deep back on it? Likely it’s a tube/CRT.
- Is it a style that you could hang on the wall? Good news—you don’t have a tube/CRT TV.
Thankfully, we are still here to help if you have any questions.