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How to dispose of old TVs in San Francisco



Red Junk King Truck parked in front home

updated 8/21/22


It seems like every year electronics companies come up with new features for the TVs that bring entertainment into our homes. First, it was flat-screen TVs, then plasma screens, then smart TVs, and now ultra-high-definition 4k resolution. This continued evolution of TV technology is part of the reason why around 25 million televisions become obsolete every year. Whether you still have an old “box-style” Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) television, or simply enjoy trying out the newest technologies that hit the TV market, knowing how to properly dispose of your old TV is an increasingly important consideration. Below, we explain why TVs (and most other electronics) cannot simply be thrown into the dumpster with the rest of your household waste. We then look at the environmental importance of TV recycling and recommend the best TV recycling options for residents of San Francisco.


Why You Should Get Rid of Your Old TV


Televisions used to be significantly more expensive, but today even the biggest screens are well within reach for the average American. This is mostly a good thing, but it does mean they’re not built to last the way they used to be. Gone are the days of the TV repair man, as the cost of buying a new television is frequently lower than the cost of having the old one fixed. Once your TV stops working, it’s essentially dead, which means you’ll have to figure out how to dispose of it properly.


Televisions are filled with all kinds of chemicals that can be hazardous if released into the air. For that reason, they need to be disposed of with care by professionals. That goes for today’s flat-screen TVs as well as the older CRT televisions we used before. If left in the landfill, the chemicals inside a television could leak into the soil and contaminate the ground around the dump. This is especially dangerous if there’s a river or other water source nearby that could become contaminated. For this reason, California levies some pretty hefty fines for illegally dumping a TV, up to $3,000 for repeat offenders.


TVs are also full of materials that can be repurposed if recycled properly. The glass and fluorescent tubing inside the screen can be recycled, as can the plastic in the outside covering. The inner workings can also be stripped of valuable metals like copper, and functional circuit boards can be entirely reused. In a best-case scenario, over 90% of a television can be recycled and used to manufacture something else.


Disposing of Old TVs in San Francisco


As TVs get bigger and bigger, most of us find ourselves upgrading to a new model every few years. Our lockdown-driven binge watches over the last few years have shown us the value of having a big TV with all the newest technology so we can recreate the theater experience at home. However, buying a new TV also means you have to get rid of the old one, and that can be trickier than you might expect. You can’t just leave electronics like televisions in the dumpster behind your apartment building, there’s a whole recycling process.


Why Can´t I Simply Throw my old TV into the Garbage? 


TVs Recycling


Over two-thirds of American households report having unwanted televisions stored in their attics, basements, or guest bedrooms. By now, most homeowners understand that placing an old TV on the curb with the rest of your trash might leave you with a sizeable fine. In the state of California, you can expect a fine of at least $1,000 for illegal dumping, and many City governments around the Bay area have much stricter ordinances with higher fines for illegal dumping.


So why exactly won´t your garbage truck pick up your old CRT TV and take it to the dump with the rest of the trash? Both older and newer styles of TVs contain several different types of harmful chemicals that could potentially contaminate landfill sites. A study by Oregon State University found that “older cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs contain between four to eight pounds of lead, plus cadmium, mercury, toxic solvents, and chemicals. When old sets and outdated computers are sent to the landfill, they are crushed, creating the potential to release heavy metals and other toxic chemicals into the environment.”


The lead content in CRT TVs is especially dangerous to human health as it could potentially leach into groundwater and surface water sources. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), if lead does contaminate drinking water, it can cause harmful cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension, decreased kidney function, and long-term reproductive problems in both men and women.


The problem doesn’t just lie with older, box-style TV sets, however. Newer flat-screen TVs also contain large amounts of chemicals such as hormone disrupters, polyvinyl chloride, brominated flame retardants, neurotoxic mercury, and others. These are not chemicals that you want floating around your landfills and potentially leaching into the local ecosystem.


e-waste recycling


How to Responsibly Get Rid of Your Used TVs in the San Francisco Area?


So if you can´t throw your used TV into the regular trash, and you don’t want to continue storing it in your attic, how exactly can you responsible get rid of your older TV? If it is still functional, you might consider donating it to a thrift store or a local non-profit that might be able to pass it on to underprivileged families who don’t have a TV.


For newer models of TVs, the electronics store you purchased it from might also have a program where you can take your TVs (and other used electronics) for free recycling. For example, Best Buy now offers free e-waste recycling where you can take your used TVs, computers, tablets, cell phones, appliances, audio equipment, and other electronics for free drop-off. Nationwide, Best Buy stores have collected over 2 billion pounds of e-waste and appliances, thus keeping an enormous amount of potentially toxic materials out of local landfills.


Homeowners, individuals, and business owners in the San Francisco area can also responsibly get rid of their used TVs via the regular trash service offered by Recology. According to Recology´s website, “to dispose of electronic or universal waste through the curbside pickup, schedule a Recology Bulky Item Recycling pickup for free if you are a resident of San Francisco. Residents receive 1-2 free pickups per year. Many Goodwill stores also accept working and non-working electronics.”


television disposal guide

If you have already gone over your one free pickup per year, you can also drop off your used TVs and other electronic waste at the SF Transfer Station. At this drop-off location, both individuals and businesses can dispose of up to 30 electronic items per month for free if they are delivered without any other type of material. For more than 30 items, you will be $1.50 per piece, and if the electronics are mixed with trash, the regular Recology tipping fee applies.


If you need a fast and efficient way to get rid of your old TV, hiring a professional junk removal service is often the easiest way to get rid of all different types of e-waste. For residents of San Francisco, California, Junk King of San Francisco has been offering superior junk removal service since 2005. The company has hands-down the best customer service in the region and is proud to have a 5-star rating on Yelp, with over 50 reviews.


Unlike other junk removal companies in the region, Junk King San Francisco maintains a solid relationship with the dozens of state-certified appliance recyclers in the region. We also make every effort to donate used TVs and other electronics that are still in usable condition so that your used TVs and other e-waste items do not end up in the landfill.


We find it unfortunate that only 33 percent of computer monitors and 17 percent of TVs continue to be recycled nationwide. As the nation´s number-one-rated junk removal company, we are committed to helping communities keep the hazardous materials found in used electronics out of our landfills and local environment. The lead, cadmium, chromium, and other aging circuitry materials in old TVs and other electronics account for 70 percent of landfills’ hazardous material. By simply recycling these used devices, we can avoid an enormous amount of toxic chemicals from accumulating in our landfills.


How to Get Rid of an Old TV in San Francisco – The 5 Best Methods


You have a few different options when it comes to disposing of your old television. This will obviously depend on the condition of the TV – you have a lot more choices if it’s still functional. Here are five of the top methods you can use to get rid of your old TV:


  • Donate Old TVs – If your old TV is still functioning, you should consider donating it. There are plenty of charitable organizations out there that accept TVs, either to sell or to give to someone who might need it. As an added bonus, donating it will give you a small deduction on your taxes, which is always nice.
  • Check With the Manufacturer – Sometimes the manufacturer of the TV will be willing to handle the recycling for you if you send back the old one. They’ll take the unit apart and repurpose the parts to make a new television. Not all companies offer this service, so you’ll have to check online or give them a call to make sure they do. Some manufacturers even give you a credit towards a new TV if you send in the old one, reducing the cost of replacing the broken TV.
  • Sell It – If the TV still works and you’re looking to make a little extra cash, you can always sell it. It can be difficult to pack up and ship a television, so you’re probably better off looking for a local buyer on Craigslist or Facebook. You might not be able to make a ton of money by selling an old TV, but you can at least put a dent in the cost of the new one with an extra $50 or so.
  • Find an E-Waste Recycling Center – If your TV is broken or otherwise nonfunctional, you’ll have to find a way to recycle it. Often, the easiest way to do this is to take it to a recycling center that accepts electronic waste. In San Francisco, the SF Transfer Station takes in all electronic waste, including televisions, so you’ll have to go there to get rid of your old TV.
  • Hire a Junk Removal Company – If you’d rather avoid the whole disposal process, most junk removal companies – Junk King included – will take electronic waste like TVs and make sure they’re properly recycled. You’ll have to pay to hire the service, so this option is best considered when you have more to get rid of or you’re doing spring cleaning.


How to Hire Junk King of San Francisco? 


Whether you are a business that needs to get rid of dozens of old TVs as you update to newer technology or simply have an old CRT TV that is taking up needed space in your basement, Junk King of San Francisco can help you efficiently and responsibly dispose of your used TV.


Free Junk Removal Price Estimator


Simply call us at 1-888-5865(JUNK) for a free, transparent price estimate for your junk pickup. Once you agree on a price and select date, all of Junk King´s employees are trained to call you 15 to 30 minutes before every job. We make every effort to honor the 2-hour window that you choose for pickup, and we offer the most competitive, up-front, and transparent pricing to help you get rid of your used TVs and other bulky junk items affordably and efficiently. Hire Junk King San Francisco today by calling 1-888-5865(JUNK) or consider booking online at this link.



Junk King San Francisco
1485 Bayshore Blvd #225
San Francisco, CA 94124
Hours: M-F: 8A-5P, Sa: 8A-4P, Su: 8A-3P

Providing junk removal services to the San Francisco area, including:

San Francisco
and these nearby zip codes:
94013, 94101, 94102, 94103, 94104, 94105, 94107, 94108, 94109, 94110, 94111, 94112, 94114, 94115, 94116, 94117, 94118, 94119, 94120, 94121, 94122, 94123, 94124, 94127, 94128, 94129, 94130, 94131, 94132, 94133, 94134, 94143, 94158