what to do with a broken tv

What to do with a broken tv: Eco-Friendly Disposal

Electronic waste (e-waste) has become a significant environmental concern in today’s technology-driven world. As more and more TVs end their life cycles, finding eco-friendly disposal methods to mitigate the negative impact on the environment is crucial. This article explores various green solutions for broken TVs, what to do with a broken tv, and focus on responsible disposal practices and reducing electronic waste.

Electronic waste, including broken or outdated TVs, poses significant environmental and health risks due to hazardous components such as lead, mercury, and flame retardants. According to a report by the United Nations University, the world generated a staggering 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste in 2019, projected to reach 74.7 million metric tons by 2030.

Table of Contents

What to do with a broken TV?

what to do with a broken tv

Many people still determine the best course of action when faced with a broken TV. While discarding it in the trash may be tempting, more environmentally friendly alternatives can give your old television set new life. There are a few things you can do with a broken TV.

  • Recycle it. This is the most environmentally friendly option, as TVs contain hazardous materials like lead and mercury. You can take your TV to a local electronics recycling center or contact your local waste management company to see if they offer TV recycling services.
  • Sell it for parts. Some people buy broken TVs for parts, so you may be able to recoup some of your money by selling yours. You can list your TV on a local classifieds website or online auction site.
  • Donate it to charity. Many charities accept donations of used electronics. This is a great option if you want to help someone in need and reduce your environmental impact simultaneously.
  • Upcycle it. If you’re creative, you can upcycle your broken TV into something new and useful. Many ideas are online, such as turning a TV into a coffee table, a bookshelf, or even a piece of art.

Creative Uses for Broken TVs

One innovative approach to dealing with broken TVs is repurposing them creatively. You can transform your non-functional TV into unique furniture or art pieces with a little imagination. Consider turning the TV casing into a retro-style aquarium, a bookshelf, or a funky pet bed. By repurposing broken TVs, you not only minimize waste but also add a touch of creativity to your living space. Here are 5 creative uses for broken TVs:

  1. Make a lightbox. You can use the screen to make a lightbox if it is still intact. This is a great way to display photos, and artwork, or even add extra light to a room.
  2. Turn it into a piece of art. If the screen is broken, you can still use it to create art. You can paint it, collage it, or even leave it as-is. The possibilities are endless.
  3. Use it as a planter. You can use your old TV as a planter if you have a green thumb. Simply drill some holes in the bottom for drainage and fill it with soil. Then, plant your favorite flowers or herbs.
  4. Make a pet bed. If you have a furry friend, they’ll love a cozy bed made from an old TV. Simply cut out a hole in the back for them to enter and exit, and then line it with blankets or pillows.
  5. Use it as a storage unit. If you need a place to store all your junk, your old TV can be handy. Simply remove the screen and electronics, and then use the empty case to store anything from toys to tools.

These are just a few ideas for what you can do with a broken TV.

Understanding Electronic Waste

Before delving into disposal methods, it is essential to understand what constitutes electronic waste and its harmful effects on the environment.

Electronic waste refers to any discarded electronic device, including TVs, computers, smartphones, and other consumer electronics. These devices often contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and flame retardants, making improper disposal a significant concern.

Harmful Effects of Improper E-Waste Disposal

When electronic waste is improperly disposed of, either in landfills or through incineration, it poses serious environmental and human health risks. Toxic substances from e-waste can leach into soil and water, contaminating ecosystems and endangering wildlife. Additionally, the incineration of electronic waste releases harmful pollutants into the air, contributing to air pollution and climate change.

The Environmental Impact of Broken TVs

Broken TVs, in particular, can have a significant environmental impact. Their cathode ray tubes (CRTs) contain lead, which is highly toxic and can contaminate soil and groundwater if not handled properly. The fluorescent backlights used in older LCD TVs also contain mercury, a hazardous substance that requires careful disposal to prevent it from entering the environment.

Why Proper Disposal Matters

To minimize the negative consequences of electronic waste, it is crucial to adopt proper disposal methods that prioritize environmental sustainability.

The Dangers of Landfill Disposal

When TVs and other electronic devices end up in landfills, their toxic components can seep into the soil and contaminate nearby water sources. This contamination affects the local ecosystem and poses a risk to human health. Proper disposal ensures that harmful substances are kept out of landfills, reducing the potential for environmental damage.

Risks Associated with Incineration

Incinerating electronic waste releases toxic fumes into the atmosphere, contributing to air pollution and exacerbating climate change. Burning plastics and other non-recyclable materials in broken TVs and broken tv screens can emit harmful gases and particulate matter, posing a health hazard to nearby communities. Implementing eco-friendly disposal methods helps mitigate these risks and promotes a cleaner, healthier environment.

Potential Health Hazards from Toxic Components

The toxic components in broken TVs, such as lead, mercury, and flame retardants, can have severe health implications if not handled properly. Exposure to lead can lead to neurological damage, especially in children, while mercury can cause harm to the nervous system and vital organs. By disposing of broken TVs responsibly, we protect both the environment and human well-being.

Reduce and Reuse

Before considering disposal options. It is worth exploring ways to reduce electronic waste and extend the lifespan of your TV.

Extending the Lifespan of Your TV

Sometimes, broken TVs can be repaired with minor fixes or component replacements. Consult a professional repair service if your TV experiences issues like a broken screen or faulty audio. By repairing rather than replacing your TV, you save money and reduce the overall amount of electronic waste generated.

Repairing Broken TVs

If you have the technical skills, repairing your broken TV can be a rewarding DIY project. Many online resources provide step-by-step guides and troubleshooting tips for common TV issues. From replacing capacitors to fixing circuit boards, repairing broken TVs keeps them out of landfills and helps you gain valuable knowledge about electronics.

Donating or Selling Still-Functional TVs

If your broken TV is still functional or can be easily repaired, consider donating it to someone in need or selling it to someone who can use it. Numerous charitable organizations accept non-functional TVs and refurbish them for educational or community purposes. Alternatively, online platforms and local classifieds can help you find interested buyers willing to repair the TV themselves.

Recycling Options for Broken TVs

what to do with a broken tv

When repair or reuse is not feasible, recycling is the most environmentally responsible way to dispose of broken TVs.

Benefits of Recycling e-Waste

Recycling broken TVs offers several environmental benefits. It helps conserve valuable resources by recovering materials like metals, plastics, and glass from old devices. Additionally, recycling reduces the need for raw material extraction and energy-intensive manufacturing processes, lowering carbon emissions and mitigating the environmental impact of electronics production.

Finding a Certified e-Waste Recycler

To ensure proper disposal and recycling of broken TVs, working with certified e-waste recyclers is essential. These professionals have the expertise and infrastructure to handle electronic waste safely and responsibly. Look for recyclers that adhere to recognized standards, such as the Responsible Recycling (R2) or e-Stewards certification programs, to guarantee that your broken TV will be processed environmentally sound.

Local and National Recycling Programs

Many communities and governments have established recycling programs to handle electronic waste. Local recycling centers, drop-off events, or designated collection points are common initiatives that aim to make responsible disposal more accessible to the public. Check with your local waste management authorities or visit their websites to learn about the available recycling options in your area.

Recycling Process

The recycling process for broken TVs and broken tv screens involves several steps to ensure valuable materials’ safe and efficient recovery.

Collection and Sorting of e-Waste

First, broken TVs are collected from various sources, including recycling centers, drop-off locations, and collection events. The collected e-waste is then sorted based on the type of device and the materials it contains. This initial sorting helps streamline the recycling process and ensures that each component is treated appropriately.

Safe Handling of Toxic Materials

Once sorted, the toxic components of broken TVs, such as leaded glass from CRTs or mercury-containing backlights, are carefully removed. Specialized facilities and equipment are used to handle these hazardous materials, minimizing the risk of exposure to workers and the environment. Following strict safety protocols during this stage is crucial to prevent the release of harmful substances.

Resource Recovery from Broken TVs

After removing toxic components, the remaining materials, including metals, plastics, and glass, undergo further processing. These materials are separated, cleaned, and prepared for recycling. Metals like copper and aluminum can be melted down and reused, while plastics and glass are typically processed to create new products or feedstock for manufacturing.

DIY Recycling Projects

For creative people, DIY recycling projects offer an exciting way to repurpose broken TVs and their components.

Repurposing Broken TVs for Home Décor

The distinctive design elements of old TVs, such as their retro casings or unique screens, make them excellent candidates for upcycling projects. Consider transforming your broken TV into a vintage-style bookshelf, an aquarium, or a funky plant stand. By repurposing broken TVs in this manner, you give them a new lease on life and add a touch of nostalgia to your home décor.

Creative Ideas for TV Component Reuse

Beyond the TV casing, several components can be repurposed for various DIY projects. For example, speakers or audio systems from broken TVs can be salvaged and integrated into custom sound setups. Similarly, buttons, knobs, and circuit boards can find new life in artistic endeavors, such as jewelry making or mixed-media artwork. Let your imagination guide you as you explore the possibilities of reusing TV components.

Engaging Children in DIY Recycling Projects

Teaching children about the importance of responsible waste management can start at home with DIY recycling projects. Involve them in repurposing broken TVs by encouraging their creativity and resourcefulness. You can transform old electronics into educational toys, imaginative playsets, or science experiments. Engaging children in DIY recycling fosters environmental awareness and nurtures their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

Donating Broken TVs

Donating broken TVs to organizations specializing in e-waste recycling and refurbishment can be a meaningful way to contribute to the community while ensuring responsible disposal.

Organizations Accepting Non-Functional TVs

Numerous local and national organizations accept non-functional TVs and other electronic devices. These organizations often partner with recycling facilities or repair workshops, allowing them to refurbish donated items or extract valuable materials from broken devices. Research local charities or non-profit organizations with e-waste recycling programs to find suitable donation options.

Benefits of Donating Broken TVs

Donating broken TVs serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it diverts electronic waste from landfills, reducing the environmental impact associated with improper disposal. Secondly, it enables charitable organizations to refurbish or recycle donated devices, extending their useful life or recovering valuable materials. Finally, by donating broken TVs, you contribute to community programs, educational initiatives, or other socially beneficial activities supported by these organizations.

Proper Donation Preparation

Before donating a broken TV, it is essential to prepare it properly to ensure the best possible outcome for the recipient organization.

  1. Data Security: Remove personal or sensitive information from the TV’s storage devices. Perform a factory reset or use data erasure software to clean the device.
  2. Condition Assessment: Assess the overall condition of the TV and disclose any known issues or faults to the recipient organization. This information helps them determine whether the device can be repaired, refurbished, or recycled.
  3. Accessories and Cables: Include any necessary accessories or cables, such as remote controls or power cords, that might be useful for refurbishment or recycling.
  4. Contact the Organization: Reach out to the chosen organization or recycling center to inquire about their donation process, drop-off locations, or collection events. Follow their instructions to ensure a smooth donation experience.

Trade-In and Buyback Programs

Many manufacturers and retailers offer trade-in or buyback programs that allow you to exchange your broken TV for credit toward a new purchase.

Trade-In Programs Offered by Manufacturers

Leading TV manufacturers often have trade-in programs incentivizing customers to upgrade their old TVs. These programs typically involve returning your broken TV to the manufacturer for a discount on a new model. The returned TVs are then responsibly disposed of or refurbished, depending on their condition.

Buyback Programs from Retailers

Similarly, retailers may offer buyback programs that allow you to sell your broken TV directly to them. The retailer may evaluate the TV’s condition and offer a fair price based on its value. Participating in these programs can recoup some of your investment in the broken TV while ensuring its proper disposal.

Financial Incentives for Returning Broken TVs

Trade-in and buyback programs simplify the disposal process and provide financial incentives to customers. By offering discounts or cash payments for broken TVs, manufacturers and retailers encourage responsible disposal and promote the adoption of newer, more energy-efficient models. Taking advantage of these programs benefits your wallet and supports eco-friendly practices within the electronics industry.

Manufacturer and Retailer Responsibility

As awareness of e-waste issues grows, manufacturers and retailers increasingly take responsibility for the products they produce or sell.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Programs

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs place the onus on manufacturers to manage the entire lifecycle of their products, including responsible disposal. Under these programs, manufacturers are responsible for financing and organizing electronic waste collection, recycling, and safe disposal. By participating in EPR programs, manufacturers demonstrate their commitment to sustainable practices and reduce the burden on consumers regarding e-waste management.

E-Waste Initiatives by Electronics Manufacturers

Many electronics manufacturers have implemented their initiatives to address the issue of e-waste. They invest in research and development to create more sustainable product designs, prioritize using recyclable materials, and establish recycling networks to handle their products at the end of their life cycles. By supporting manufacturers with robust e-waste initiatives, consumers can contribute to a more sustainable electronics industry.

Green Policies and Sustainable Practices of Retailers

Retailers also play a significant role in promoting eco-friendly practices. By adopting green policies, such as reducing packaging waste or offering take-back programs, retailers actively encourage customers to participate in responsible disposal. Some retailers collaborate with manufacturers or e-waste recyclers to ensure that broken electronics collected through their programs are recycled or disposed of properly. Supporting retailers with strong sustainability commitments helps drive positive change throughout the supply chain.

Local Disposal Options

To ensure convenient and environmentally friendly disposal, knowing the local disposal options available in your area is important.

Municipal e-Waste Collection Events

Many municipalities organize e-waste collection events to facilitate the proper disposal of electronic devices, including broken tv screens. These events are typically held periodically and provide a designated location where residents can drop off their e-waste for recycling. Check your local government’s website or contact waste management authorities to determine when and where these collection events occur.

Drop-Off Locations for Broken TVs

In addition to collection events, some communities have permanent drop-off locations for e-waste disposal. These drop-off centers or recycling depots accept broken TVs and other electronic devices yearly. They ensure the collected e-waste is transported to certified recyclers for responsible processing. Research local recycling facilities or check with your waste management authorities to find the nearest drop-off location for your broken TV.

Contacting Local Waste Management Authorities

If you are unsure about the available disposal options in your area, reach out to your local waste management authorities for guidance. They can provide information on recycling programs, collection schedules, and regulations specific to your community. Understanding the local guidelines and resources allows you to make informed decisions and contribute to a more sustainable waste management system.

Proper Disposal of Hazardous Components

Certain components within broken TVs require special attention and care during disposal to prevent environmental contamination.

Managing Lead-Containing Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs)

Older TVs, particularly those with cathode ray tubes (CRTs), contain significant amounts of lead in the glass screen. Lead is highly toxic and can have severe health implications if improperly handled. When disposing of CRTs, working with certified recyclers specializing in processing leaded glass is essential to ensure the lead is safely removed and recycled.

Safe Disposal of Mercury-Containing Components

Fluorescent backlights in some older LCD TVs contain small amounts of mercury, which is hazardous to human health and the environment. To prevent mercury from being released into the environment, it is crucial to recycle broken TVs through certified e-waste recyclers who can safely extract and handle mercury-containing components.

Handling Fluorescent Backlights and Flame Retardants

In addition to mercury, LCD TVs’ fluorescent backlights may contain other harmful substances such as flame retardants. These chemicals require special handling to prevent their release into the environment. Certified recyclers are equipped to dismantle broken TVs carefully, ensuring the safe handling and disposal of these hazardous components.

Resources for Responsible Disposal

Numerous resources are available to help individuals and businesses find proper disposal options for their broken TVs and other electronic devices.

Online Resources for Finding Disposal Options

Several websites and online directories provide information on e-waste recycling facilities, collection events, and drop-off locations. These resources allow you to search by location and type of electronic device to find your area’s most suitable disposal options. Popular online platforms include Earth911, E-Cycle Washington, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) e-waste recycling locator tool.

Environmental Organizations Promoting e-Waste Awareness

Environmental organizations and non-profit groups are vital in raising awareness about e-waste issues and promoting responsible disposal practices. They provide educational materials, organize recycling campaigns, and advocate for policies that prioritize sustainability. By engaging with these organizations, individuals can stay informed about the latest developments in e-waste management and discover additional disposal resources.

Government Agencies and Regulations

Government agencies, at both the local and national levels, are actively involved in regulating and managing e-waste. They implement policies, establish guidelines, and collaborate with stakeholders to ensure responsible disposal practices. Stay informed about government regulations and guidelines related to e-waste in your region to ensure compliance and contribute to a sustainable waste management ecosystem.

Future Innovations in TV Disposal

Advancements in technology and sustainable practices are driving innovative approaches to tackle the issue of TV disposal.

Advancements in Sustainable TV Design

Manufacturers are continuously striving to develop TVs with a reduced environmental footprint. This includes using eco-friendly materials, improving energy efficiency, and prioritizing recyclability at the design stage. Future TVs may incorporate more sustainable features, such as modular designs that allow for easier component replacement or upgrading, reducing the overall generation of electronic waste.

Breakthroughs in Recycling Technologies

Researchers and scientists are exploring innovative recycling technologies to maximize resource recovery from electronic waste. These technologies aim to improve the efficiency of material separation, enhance the extraction of valuable metals, and find new ways to recycle or upcycle electronic components. Breakthroughs in recycling technologies hold the potential to revolutionize the e-waste industry and create a more sustainable approach to TV disposal.

Circular Economy Approaches e-Waste

The concept of a circular economy, where resources are used for as long as possible through recycling and reuse, is gaining traction in e-waste management. By adopting circular economy principles, the electronics industry can minimize waste generation, maximize resource efficiency, and reduce the environmental impact of TV disposal. Circular economy models aim to create a closed-loop system where electronic products are designed, manufactured, and recycled sustainably and resource-consciously.


Now, you know what to do with a broken TV. Understanding the harmful effects of electronic waste and exploring various disposal methods can minimize the environmental impact of broken tv screen disposal. Numerous green solutions are available, from reducing and reusing to recycling and donating. Everyone has a role in promoting responsible e-waste management, whether as consumers, manufacturers, or retailers. Making informed choices and embracing sustainable practices can create a cleaner, healthier planet for future generations.


Q1. Can I throw a broken TV in the regular trash?

No, throwing a broken TV in the regular trash is not recommended. 

Q2. Can I repair my broken TV myself?

If you have the necessary technical skills and knowledge, you can attempt to repair your broken TV yourself. 

Q3. Are there any financial incentives for recycling broken TVs?

Yes, trade-in and buyback programs offered by manufacturers and retailers often provide financial incentives for recycling broken TVs. 

Q4. How can I find a certified e-waste recycler?

To find a certified e-waste recycler, look for recyclers that adhere to recognized standards, such as the Responsible Recycling (R2) or e-Stewards certification programs. 

Q5. What is extended producer responsibility (EPR)?

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach that holds manufacturers responsible for the entire lifecycle of their products, including their proper disposal. 

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