For those born before 2000, CRT TVs were a common household appliance. Big, boxy, and often weighing more than your standard flat panel television, cathode ray tube televisions were the standard for nearly 40 years, providing reliable images with one or more electron guns and fluorescent screens. Despite the devices’ reliability, technology did what it always does and evolved, using better and safer means.
While CRT TVs went out of style in 2008, you can still find the old televisions lurking in grandparents’ basements, and some manufacturers still sell the televisions in Asia and the Middle East. Most people who come across the old box set are only interested in disposal or recycling, and recycling is always the better option, especially when talking about a CRT TV.
How To Identify a CRT TV
People often assume that all CRT TVs had old-fashioned dials on the front, but that is not true. While TVs produced in the early 1960s did use dials, the 1990s brought significant design changes, including under-mount, side-mount, or back-mount controls. If you can identify your television by its dials, what is the best way?
CRT televisions used glass screens, so tapping on the TV’s front is often a dead giveaway. However, other unique design elements included a boxy design, with a back angled down and away from the screen before squaring off. These televisions also weigh significantly more than a plasma or flat panel and cannot be easily mounted to a wall. The screen is also convex, meaning that it curves outward, away from the frame.
Why Are CRT TVs Dangerous and Difficult to Recycle?
A CRT TV is dangerous because it contains toxins. Contributing to the television’s overall heft are glass tubes responsible for the display, tubes containing four to eight pounds of lead and coated with phosphor dust. In color TVs, manufacturers also use traces of mercury.
Given the high levels of toxins in TV construction, CRT televisions should only be recycled and done by certified recycling companies. The chemicals found in old CRT models can leech into the soil of landfills if disposed of, contaminating groundwater and affecting plant and animal life. Some studies show that trace amounts of these chemicals can contaminate city water supplies as well.
Only professionals qualified to handle the specific hazardous waste found in CRT televisions should recycle the devices. Always take your TVs to qualified recyclers, first checking to see if they accept the type of television you have.
Again, we do not currently accept CRT TVs for recycling. We do accept other types of televisions. If you have a CRT TV, you will need to take your device to another qualified recycler for proper disposal. This article was only for informational purposes to help our customers who have asked about CRT televisions and why we cannot accept these items at this time.
High Tech Recycling does not accept CRT TV’s at this time. If you are in the Metro Detroit Area and need to recycle a CRT TV, you can search for local recyclers here.