How to Dispose of a Monitor
Old computer monitors may seem like junk—especially the huge ones that take up more space than a microwave oven! But don’t send that useless piece of computer hardware to the curb with the rest of your trash. Computer monitors, as well as other electronic equipment, is considered hazardous waste. Computer monitors and other eWaste can be harmful if it is left in a landfill, as it contains a number of chemicals and compounds that can seep into the groundwater and soil. These harmful substances can be reintroduced into the environment or even into drinking water supplies—particularly if the computer monitor’s final resting place is in a third world country, where landfill standards are lower.
To prevent your old computer monitor from turning into toxic waste, get rid of it in one of the following sustainable ways:
The three R’s of sustainability are Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, and they are prioritized in that order. While recycling may be the most convenient way to get rid of your old computer monitor, donating it to someone who may have a use for it is the greenest way to unburden yourself of the old computer hardware. Thrift stores, such as Goodwill and Salvation Army, often accept computer parts, which they either distribute to needy individuals or refurbish and sell along with complete computer systems. This is a great way for low income families to get functional computers in their homes. Check with your local church organization or senior center for computer parts drives as well.
Participate in an eWaste Collection Drive
In larger cities, organizations or municipal agencies occasionally run eWaste collection drives, where you can drop off your old computer equipment for safe disposal for a little to no fee. These are usually conducted in areas where there aren’t regular eWaste collection facilities or resources. So, if you have computer equipment and computer monitors laying around, your best bet is to keep it somewhere safe and check to see when the next eWaste collection drive is. Round up all of your old eWaste at that time and get rid of it all at once.
Send it to the Manufacturer
Many computer manufacturers, including Dell, Epson, Gateway, Apple, IBM and Hewlett Packard have their own recycling programs. In most cases, they’ll allow you to ship the item to them or drop it off at one of their locations where they’ll recycle it for free or refurbish it. Check out your computer monitor’s manufacturer’s website for information about their recycling program.
Bring it to a Big Box Store
Many big box office supply and electronic stores allow you to recycle electronic equipment, including ink cartridges, hard drives, laptops and of course, monitors. Staples, Best Buy and Office Max have programs, though they may vary from store to store. At Staples, for example, you can get store credit for recycling certain items.
There are many ways to sustainably dispose of your computer monitor, some of which benefit you directly, others which benefit your neighbors and community members and all of which benefit the environment. Take time to do the right thing and donate or recycle your computer monitors.
For more information, visit the EPA's page on ecycling: [http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/ecycling/]