Should I recycle my old TV?

Now that the transition to digital TV has taken place, many households may be getting rid of old TVs. Recyclers estimate that as many as 1 in 4 U.S. households may get rid of an old TV this year. That's a lot of stuff. And since most televisions include significant amounts of lead and other toxic metals, it matters a lot what happens to that stuff.

If your old TV still works, and if it has a place to plug in an antenna, it can still receive channels just fine using a digital converter box – available from online retailers from $40 (that's free if you have a government coupon). If that's not an option, then make sure you donate or recycle your old TV responsibly! This page offers a few suggestions on how.

E-cycle is a relatively new Washington State programwhich simplifies responsible electronics recycling, offering free service at over 200 drop-off sites around the state. These sites will accept your discarded TVs, and break down the component materials for recycling in a safe, environmentally sound manner. At the top of the list in Seattle are Total Reclaim (2200 6th Ave. S) and Goodwill Industries (1400 S. Lane St.).

Here is a complete list of recycling drop-off spots in King County, WA (look for the green e-cycle logo for approved no-cost drop-off locations). Search here for other WA locations.

Not in Washington State? Consult your local recycling authority of state Department of Ecology about your options for responsible electronics reuse or recycling.


Basel Action Network
The Digital Dump report
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
E-Cycle Washington

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