Responsible Recycling: How to Properly Dispose of LCD Monitors and E-Waste

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responsible recycling

Photo Credit: iStockPhoto/Sanja Djordjevic

Some of the most common hazardous e-waste items found in landfills include LCD desktop monitors, CRT monitors, LCD TVs, and Plasma TVs.

They contain lead, mercury, flame retardants, volatile organic compounds, and other harmful substances that, when burned, release dangerous toxins into the environment and impact human health, the mental development of children, and the planet’s natural resources.

Dangers of Inefficient LCD Disposal

  1. Air pollution: E-waste in landfills is often incinerated which releases toxic gasses into the environment, contributing to air pollution which can have far-reaching health consequences for communities near these sites.
  2. Water contamination: LCD monitors in landfills can lead to groundwater contamination. Harmful substances can seep into the groundwater, which is a source of drinking water for many communities.
  3. Health risks: Substances like lead and mercury pose extreme risks to human health. Mercury can affect the nervous system and lead exposure can lead to developmental issues, particularly in children.
  4. Electronic waste export: Improper recycling leads to the export of toxic e-waste to developing countries where inefficient recycling practices result in further environmental pollution and health hazards to local communities.
  5. Loss of valuable resources: Everyday digital devices are made of precious raw materials that we lose when we throw these items into landfills. This loss is estimated to be nearly $57 billion.
  6. Illegal dumping: Improperly discarded LCD monitors can end up in unauthorized dumping sites, creating eyesores, attracting pests, and contributing to unsanitary conditions.

While these older pieces of tech are being phased out in favor of LED monitors that are supposed to be more eco-friendly, the fact remains that there exists an enormous gap in the market for proper recycling of these dangerous items.

So, what you can do to ensure that when you discard your old LCD monitor, it doesn’t become an environmental or human hazard to the world?

Let’s find out.

How to Properly Dispose of LCD and CTR Monitors

Research recycling guidelines

Look around and find out what your state says about e-cycling guidelines. So far, 25 states and the District of Columbia operate under several electronic recycling laws that cover diverse areas of the e-cycling issue.

Some states allow for a wider range of e-waste products to be recycled under state guidelines while others only allow for a fraction of them. New York, for example, has an extensive list of e-cycling products ranging from CRT monitors to portable DVD players. Pennsylvania, on the other hand, only covers a smaller range of products such as desktops, monitors, and tablets.

To recycle your electronics more responsibly, it’s important to be familiar with your state and county laws that cover this matter. Electronic Recycling Coordination Clearinghouse (ERCC) is a dynamic organization that can help you get started with your research. It is a one-stop shop for all the information you need for state laws on electric and electronic waste and recycling.

Donate or sell

The second step in your e-waste recycling campaign must be to look for opportunities where your old tech can act as a tool for good. Donating your used electronics to charitable causes or selling them to others for a bit of profit are all worthier goals than just dumping the lot into the bin.

Tech donations not only increase the lifecycle of your products but are extremely useful in decreasing the digital divide between communities too. Children who have no access to computer monitors, laptops, or tablets can use your donated tech to further their education, pursue dream professions, and improve the conditions of their local communities.

But before you pack up your tech for the donation box, make sure it’s in working condition and in reasonable shape. Remove your personal data from the devices too, and then proceed to make someone’s life a lot better.

Explore take-back programs

Since LED monitors are becoming mainstream and LCD and CRT ones are phased out, manufacturers and retailers have launched take-back programs where you can give your old LCD monitors back to manufacturers for organized recycling initiatives.

Staples and Best Buy are nationwide retailers that accept both LCD and CRT monitors.

LG, Dell, HP, and Apple all operate manufacturer recycling programs where each of them will accept all old products they’ve made and take care of its proper recycling. Dell even accepts products that are made by other manufacturers. Apple also has a unique approach where it offers discounts when you trade in an old Apple product and buy a new one.

So, depending on the brand of LCD monitor you have, call up the relevant manufacturer store and find out what their take-back policy is.

Choose a local e-waste recycling center

Many communities have e-waste recycling businesses that will take your old LCD monitors off your hands and dispose of them in an environmentally-responsible way.

When choosing a local e-waste recycling service for your LCD monitors, make sure to look for relevant certifications. These certifications indicate whether the business has the necessary qualifications, techniques, and equipment in place to take care of old monitor recycling.

Two of the critical certifications to look for are the Basel Action Network’s (BAN) e-Stewards and Sustainable Electronics Recycling International’s (SERI) R2 Standard. Even if you choose a recycler that does not have these certifications, it’s fine as long as they don’t practice e-waste export or illegal dumping.

Choose an e-waste recycler that also offers data destruction services to keep your old tech from becoming a cause for cyber security disruptions.

Remove personal data

If you are just recycling an old monitor with no hard drive with it, you might not require to delete any data. However, if you are getting rid of an entire desktop computer system, with a CPU and a monitor, it’s critical to empty that hard drive.

According to a report by Forbes, a massive amount of old memory cards available for sale on eBay still had identifiable information about the previous user on them. Security risks like these are bad news not only for individuals and households but can also affect businesses and government institutions if data isn’t being professionally deleted from hard drives at the time of recycling.

As a responsible e-waste recycling service, we perform extensive data erasure from all devices before we send them on the last leg of their journey. This ensures complete protection of your data every time you choose us as your e-cycling partner.

Use protective packaging to transport the monitor

Finally, once you are ready for your old monitor to be shipped off or picked up, the last step is to pack it properly to protect it from any damage on the way.

  1. Start by unplugging all wires from the monitor. Remove the power cable too.
  2. Some cables, like VGA, will need to be unscrewed.
  3. Take a thick towel and wrap up your old monitor in it. It’ll help prevent any chances of damage on the road.
  4. Don’t pick your monitor up when transferring it to your car. It can be heavy on your back as old monitors weigh quite a lot.
  5. Use a rolling chair (or a dolly) and transfer your monitor to your car.
  6. In the trunk of your car, place another towel or an old blanket on the floor and place the monitor face-down. This position will further minimize any chances of damage to the screen.

If you have chosen a service like Hummingbird International, we’ll arrive at your doorstep to collect the monitor.

Important note: We collect damaged electronic items, too. So even if your monitor gets cracked on the way or it’s in a damaged condition already, rest easy. We’ll take proper care of it as we dismantle it and send it for earth-friendly recycling.

Monitor Recycling With Us

For electronic consumers in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, we offer free recycling services for old LCD and CTR monitors. For individuals and businesses, our green recycling initiatives take care of the safe disposal of a large variety of electronics and electrical items.

Call us at 888-392-7839 to learn more about us or set up a free consultation.

About The Author

Kelly Sampson is a writer, blogger, and environmental enthusiast. She has strong opinions about climate change, the dogs vs. cats debate, and Oxford commas. She has lent Hummingbird International her engaging and spirited voice and turned our blog into a great place to find valuable information about e-waste, e-waste recycling, and the ITAD industry. Explore our blog to read more of her work.

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