Need To Recycle Your Satellite TV Dish? Read This First.

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Satellite TV dishes – they can be as common-place as mailboxes and chimneys.  According to the Satellite Industry Association, there are approximately 200 million satellite TV subscribers worldwide.  And with each subscriber is a satellite dish of which the responsibility for disposal lies with the subscriber says the industry.  As a result of lack of information many satellite TV dishes end up in area landfills. So are satellite TV dishes recyclable or not?

Depending on who you ask, the proper method of disposal or recycling for a satellite TV dishes can be as clear as…well, a fuzzy TV signal.  First off, lets tune in to what materials make up a satellite TV dish.  Satellite TV dishes are primarily made up of the following materials;

  • Plastic
  • Metal
  • Circuit board/hardware
satellite tv dish

Image courtesy of faungg’s photos.

While plastic and metal are both recyclable, the satellite industry itself still seems to be sending mixed signals when it comes to overall disposal.  Few will dispute that satellite TV dish circuit boards pollute (similar to electronic or e-waste) the environment when disposed of in landfills. To make matters even more complicated, U.S. federal guidelines do not regulate circuit boards as hazardous waste while some states (California for example) mandate recycling of electronic waste (e-waste) which includes satellite TV dishes.  One thing is crystal clear – once installed, the responsibility for disposing of satellite TV dishes lies with the subscriber (or owner).  So what’s a subscriber to do?


Here at Earth911, we want to ensure that your satellite TV dish is properly disposed of – more ideas, less waste.  If you are looking to recycle your satellite TV dish, we recommend the following;

  • First, contact your specific service provider to inquire about their recycling program.  If you confirm that doesn’t exist…
  • To remove the satellite from your roof we recommend first searching for a satellite removal service in your area. If you are unable to find one you can try reaching out to a local roofing company to see if they will provide this service.
  • Once your dish is off your roof, contact local scrap vendors in your area.  They very well may be willing to remove and reuse the plastic and metal components.  For a listing of scrap metal vendors in your local area, check out our recycling search.
  • Consider repurposing the dish into something else.  There are all kinds of DIY repurposing projects if you look online.
  • Consider giving the dish to a friend or family member who could reuse the dish.
  • See if satellite TV dish recyclers are in your local area.  As satellite TV dishes have become more commonplace, removal service businesses have begun to pop up.

Lastly, we regularly receive inquiries about whether Earth911 offers removal services.  Earth911 does not offer satellite TV dish removal or recycling. If a satellite TV provider tell you that, it is not accurate information. 

If your a DirecTV customer and have other equipment that needs to be recycled you can utilize DirecTV’s mail-in recycling program.

DIRECTV’s Help Center offers recycling of all DIRECTV equipment – excluding dishes.

Notes:

  1. DIRECTV does not uninstall dishes.
  2. DIRECTV accepts non-DIRECTV branded devices.
  3. DIRECTV pays for shipping.

To get started, consumers can visit their recycling site. DirecTV recently partnered with Goodwill Denver to process all of their recycling. Visit the link above to get your shipping label.

Devices will then be shipped to a certified R2 recycler, according to DIRECTV.  A similar search of DishTV’s website resulted in finding no information with regard to disposal.

Feature image courtesy of Alexis Lê-Quôc

Editor’s note: this article was originally published on June 10, 2015. It was updated on July 12, 2016 with updated links and information.

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Chase Ezell

Chase has served in various public relations, communications and sustainability roles. He is a former managing editor for Earth911.com.