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How to Dispose of Computer Monitors

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Like most people, you’ll have to eventually replace some parts of your old computer, including your old monitor. What if it still works? Knowing how to dispose of computer monitors instead of just throwing it in the trash can make you a more responsible user and citizen.

How to Dispose of Computer Monitors

The best way to dispose of your old monitor is by taking it to a recycle center or offer it as a donation. You can also call your local technical service and give it away to them. If the local store or community is not working in a recycling or donation program, you can also try the BestBuy Recycling Program. 

Old computer monitors and CPUs waiting to be disposed

As personal security advice, before you donate or recycle your old monitor or computer device, please make sure you erase any personal data: stickers, writing, labels.

Are There Toxic Components In Your Old Monitors?

Yes, there are lead and other toxic components like mercury and cadmium in your old monitors. You can find lead in the cathodic ray tubes of the monitor, while mercury is in the lamp and cadmium in used coating materials. You just can’t throw away these elements in the trash can. 

The pollution risk associated with old monitors is something serious. While is not recycled, lead, cadmium, and copper leach into the soil and water, and when it evaporates, it ends polluting the food chain when it rains into the crops. According to the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, a group of American recycling organizations, only 33% of the disposed of monitors are recycled. 

Nevertheless, plastic, glass, and metal contained in each monitor are highly recyclable, so there is a great potential for materials that you can recycle for the benefit of our planet. 

Does Best Buy Take Old Computer Monitors?

Yes. You can take your old monitor to Best Buy. Best Buy is the largest recycler in the US of electronics and appliances. 

A man handing out money to a desktop monitor

When it comes to monitors, the cost of recycling is higher compared to other computer elements and is highly dependent on the market of recycling glass.  For this reason, Best Buy charges the recycling of old monitors with 25$ per monitor. 

However, this service is available just to households only. It’s not available for companies and it has a monthly limit of two monitors per day. 

There are several trustable recycling/donation programs, besides Best Buy and coordinated by acknowledged companies. Office Depot, Amazon, Dell or Apple have their own initiatives. Even in the case of Amazon or Apple, there have rewarding systems (in the form of gift cards) to the delivery of qualified items. These programs are not limited to monitors, but for all kinds of electronic devices. 

Can I Throw It Away on a Computer Monitor?

No, you just can’t throw away your old monitor. There are a lot of old models that contain lead, among other polluting elements. When you donate or recycle your old monitor, you’re making sure that it won’t be opened or manipulated in an unsafe or unprotected way, taking care of our environment and human safety.

Can I Use a New Monitor With an Old Computer?

If you are thinking of buying a new monitor for your laptop or desktop, and your laptop or desktop is a relatively old model, you should check first your compatibility of sockets. If you have a device of, let’s say, 6 or 7 years, it’s probably that it has a VGA socket.

Man wearing a headset using his desktop at work

The latest models of monitors have an HDMI and/or a DVI socket. It’s important to check, before buying the monitor, that it is VGA compatible, like this AOC, with the availability of DVI and VGA ports.

Can I Turn My Old Computer Monitor Into a TV?

If you’re not sure yet about donating or recycling your monitor, one interesting choice is to use it as an alternative TV.  For that, the first thing you should do is to look into your monitor to identify if it has an input that matches your TV cable/satellite console output.

If that is the case, you can just cable the two input/output connections, with a working cable. But if it is not, you can use an external TV tuner. This device will allow you to connect your TV with your monitor, using an RF Coaxial cable, or RCA composite cables.

Remember,  your monitor doesn’t have any speaker, or maybe has it, but at a very basic level. So, to compensate it is convenient to connect a pair of speakers in your TV Box/ Console. You can do it with RCA cables (red, green and white cable), just using your red and white plugs. 

Conclusion

When it comes to disposing of your computer monitor, your main goal is to avoid it ending in a regular trash can. For that, you should contact your regular local technical Service; or your community’s school or churches to find some interest in your monitor. There are several nationwide recycling/ donation programs that provide you with alternatives to the proper disposal of our own old devices.