How to Recycle Large Electronics

Large electronics include all the heavy electronics we plug into power outlets. Big-screen TVs, office copiers/printers and audio receivers/amplifiers fall into the large electronics category for recycling purposes because they contain many of the same wires and computer components that are valued in the recycling market.

Find recycling guides for other materials

Sponsored by Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc.

ISRI.org


Large Electronics Recycling Preparation

  1. If it’s possible to restore the factory settings of your electronics, this should be your first step. Most smart TVs and many printers now contain personal information that you may not want others to access. Performing a factory reset will delete that data to help protect your privacy.
  2. Unplug large electronics from the electronic outlet and bundle up the cord using either a twist tie or the cord itself. Tape it to the unit. This step is important to help prevent anyone carrying the heavy electronic unit from tripping while moving it.
  3. If your large electronic item still works, consider donating it. Reuse is a great way to reduce the ecological impact of any manufactured product. Secondhand stores will often accept used electronics in working condition. Most donation outlets will not accept cathode ray tube (CRT, or tube) televisions.
  4. Use a dolly to transport electronics to your car for transport to a recycler. Electronics that have a cathode ray tube (CRT) contain hazardous metals like lead and mercury. These metals are harmless during use, but potentially toxic if you drop or damage the device releasing the metals in your house.
  5. If you work in an office, ask your company’s IT department to schedule an electronics recycling event once a year. Many offices have lots of computers to recycle, and an waste recycler that picks up office electronics is likely to also collect consumer products like TVs at no cost.

Why Recycle Large Electronics

  • In 2014, the Consumer Electronics Association conducted a survey showing 46 percent of U.S. households still have at least one CRT device even though they are now incredibly hard to find in retail stores.
  • While the U.S. increased the recycling of electronic waste by more than 50 percent since 2000, we still recycle less than half of our electronics..
  • Large electronics contain valuable precious metals like gold, lead and copper.

Frequent Large Electronic Recycling Questions

Want recycling tips delivered right to your inbox?

Subscribe to our newsletter

Additional Reading