Safe Disposal of Toxic Dangers–Computer Monitors

Before you decide to upgrade and trash your old computer monitor, consider the hazardous materials inside and how best to dispose of them — for your and the planet’s sake.

The danger: The monitor is one of the worst computer components to stick in a landfill, particularly the older and bigger cathode ray tube monitors, which are similar to TV sets in their makeup. Each monitor or TV has a minimum of three to eight pounds of lead, a known neurotoxin and carcinogen. These monitors often have such toxic materials as mercury, cadmium and chromium, all of which are hazardous to the environment, according to the EPA, whose website has loads of useful information on eCycling (recycling of electronic equipment).

What to do: If your old monitor is still working, it can still be used. Check with local schools or charities to see if they accept donations. Some computer makers, such as Apple, will accept your old monitor back for recycling if you buy a new one. The SVTC web site lists manufacturers with take-back programs. The group is also a member of the Electronic Takeback Campaign, which lists responsible recyclers on its web site.