Satellite TV dishes are as commonplace as mailboxes and chimneys. According to the The Hollywood Reporter, 27 percent of U.S. homes subscribed to satellite TV as of January 2019. Removal and recycling of dish systems has fallen on the subscriber, who get little support from subscription TV companies. As a result of lack of information, many satellite TV dishes end up in area landfills.
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, let’s tune in to what materials make up a satellite TV dish. Satellite TV dishes are primarily made up of the following materials:
- Circuit board/hardware
These components plainly make the satellite dish a member of the electronic waste category. Personal computer, mobile phone, and many other electronic appliances makers are actively recycling their products. They can be dropped off at local e-waste recyclers in most communities, but few services provide for removal of the system from a roof or balcony.
While plastic and metal are both recyclable, the satellite industry itself still seems to be sending mixed signals when it comes to overall disposal. To complicate matters more, U.S. federal guidelines do not regulate circuit boards as hazardous waste, although some states (California, for example) mandate the recycling of 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 handled at the end of its life. Unfortunately, DirectTV, Dish TV, and DirectTV-parent AT&T frequently direct customers to Earth911 for recycling services, claiming we will come and remove the dish and receiver. That is not the case. If you are looking to recycle your satellite TV dish, here are some tips to get you started.
- First, contact your specific service provider to inquire about their recycling program. Today, DirectTV provides a recycling program through a partnership with Goodwill’s GoodElectronics program, DishTV’s recycling program works with Best Buy, where you can drop off receivers, and offers mail-in services with United Parcel Service (Dish pays for shipping). DishTV’s program is not well-reviewed by customers.
- When removing the satellite dish from your roof, we recommend 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 you can find 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. Here are a few we identified in early 2019:
- Satellite Dish Removal Pros, which offers regional service. You can search by ZIP code for local removal.
- SBKRecycle in Tacoma, Washington.
- Recycling Appliance in Beaverton, Oregon.
- Dish Removal Services in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- RecycleForce in Indianapolis, Indiana.
- HomeAdvisor offers local removal services through contractors.
- Thumbtack also offers local dish removal services through contractors.
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 tells you that, it is not accurate information.
DirecTV recently partnered with Goodwill Denver to process all of their recycling. Consumers can visit their recycling site. Visit the link above to get your shipping label. Devices will then be shipped to a certified R2 recycler, according to DirectTV.
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 in May 2019.