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Handle With Care
The issue of what to do with old computer monitors is an important consideration, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prohibits cathode ray tubes (CRT) from being placed in landfills. This is due to the toxicity of the leaded glass which comprises all glass portions of the tube, with the exception of the front panel. The reason for the lead being present in the glass is to provide a shield against x-rays emitted by the electron gun. If deposited into a landfill and exposed to the elements, the lead in the CRT can reactively contaminate the air, and, inevitably, the soil and ground water. Additionally, the lead will not break down naturally, which means it can persist in causing cause harmful effects.
With an abundance of available alternatives, there is no need to dispose of old monitors in ways that promote indefinite toxicity. The ideal way to get rid of unwanted monitors is through donating or recycling. In any case, it's advisable not to dismantle the monitor prior to sending it on its way. Cathode ray tubes can violently explode when damaged and cause severe injury. It's best to leave the monitor intact and let the recycling facility take care of it.
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How to Recycle Old Monitors
Recycling can be as simple as taking the monitor down to your local Best Buy. If your CRT monitor is less than 32 inches, Best Buy will take it. There is a small charge of ten dollars for this service, but you will be given a ten dollar gift certificate in exchange.
You can also search for recycling centers in your local area by visiting Earth911.com. This link will take you directly to the site's monitor page, which contains information and tips on recycling monitors as well as a search engine. The Reconnect Partnership, a partnership between Dell and Goodwill Industries, will also accept computer monitors for recycling. You can search the site for a center near you.
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How to Donate Old Monitors
Donating your monitor is a great way to get rid of it, and it can also be tax-deductible. Techsoup.org has extensive links to non-profit organizations that will accept your monitor. A quick search will bring up locations in your area. Computers with causes is another donation option worth checking out.
The Environmental Protection Agency has a multitude of resources for both recycling and donating. There's no question about it; somebody somewhere can make good use of what you need to dispose of.
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Making the Right ChoiceWhile some creative individuals have come up with unconventional solutions regarding what to do with old computer monitors, they are, for most of us, impractical. Though there are ways of transforming your monitor into an oscilloscope, or even a fish tank, they're not advisable solutions by any stretch.You simply can’t go wrong with recycling or donating. By dealing with your old monitor properly, you’ll be doing right by the environment, helping your community, and, ultimately, helping yourself.