Pin Me

Recycling Computer Monitors

written by: kschurman•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 12/29/2008

Many components of the personal computer contain toxic materials, meaning it's important to recycle obsolete PCs. The computer monitor is no different; it needs to be recycled, too.

  • slide 1 of 3

    Why Recycle the Monitor?

    Most older computer monitors are CRT monitors, short for cathode ray tubes. These bulky monitors contain several important components inside the monitor required for operation, but these same vital components sometimes contain hazardous and toxic chemicals and substances.

    Most CRT monitors contain lead, which can seep into the soil and groundwater if the CRT monitor is crushed after being discarded at a landfill. The lead in a CRT is mixed into the glass to provide a shield to the radiation that the electron gun creates, and the lead provides maximum optical quality for the glass.

    When recycling computer monitors, the recycler often can recover some of the hazardous materials, such as the lead, for reuse. By reusing these items, less mining of these materials is required, which further protects the environment.

  • slide 2 of 3

    How to Recycle the Monitor

    You have a few different options for preventing your computer monitor from reaching a landfill.

    Donate the monitor. Before attempting to recycle a computer monitor, consider donating it to a charitable organization. Obviously, if the monitor is extremely old or doesn't work, you can't donate it and recycling is your only option.

    Local government options. To find a recycling agency in your area, you can contact your local city, county, or state government for more information. If your state has a department of "environmental quality," or "environmental conservation," or "environmental protection," it probably can help you determine the best method for recycling your monitor. Some states place limits on how many monitors a company can recycle in a month. Some cities offer electronics recycling, including computer monitor recycling, at a certain time each month. Check with local officials for information in your area.

    Recycling companies. Companies that specialize in recycling sometimes accept computer monitors for recycling. You'll have to look in your local telephone book for these options.

    New computer. If you purchase a new computer from particular manufacturers, they might allow you to recycle the equipment you're replacing for free. Some retail stores will recycle old computer equipment for a small fee after you purchase a new computer from them, too.

    Dell Computer recycling program. Dell Computer offers worldwide recycling options of any brand of computer monitor. Click on the link below to learn your best option for recycling through Dell.

    http://www.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/about_dell/values/environment/warsmap?c=us&l=en&s=corp

  • slide 3 of 3

    Final Tips

    When recycling a CRT, you may have to pay a fee. However, if you cannot afford the fee, contact your local recycling agency and ask for a waiver. Most recycling agencies would rather have the benefit of recycling the monitor versus losing a monitor to the landfill because of the fee.

    Finally, the Environmental Protection Agency offers plenty of advice on eCycling, short for electronics recycling. Click on the link listed below to find resources recommended by the EPA.

    http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/materials/ecycling/index.htm