The average lifespan of a desktop is shorter than you might realize. Most only last upwards of three years, unless you take very good care of it. Then, you might get five to eight years. Technology changes quickly, and that helps components become obsolete pretty quickly.

Monitors last longer than that. You can often get up to 10 years from your monitor. What type of monitor is it though? There are different types of monitors – CRT, LED, and LCD – and there are different sizes like curved, ultra-wide, or a variety of standard sizes. Some monitors have a computer built in. With an all-in-one desktop, security comes into play. Any storage that could contain an individual’s private information has to have data destroyed, too.

As you have to consider those factors, data destruction may be an integral part of computer monitor recycling. Older CRT monitors contain lead, as much as four pounds of lead per CRT. As lead is dangerous when processed improperly, proper recycling procedures are vital.

The Value in Recycling

Monitors contain a number of metals, like the lead in an old CRT. Some also have materials like mercury that also harm the environment. When you recycle, those materials don’t end up in a landfill where they could slowly seep into the soil and groundwater and become a problem that future generations have to clean up.

Several rare earth elements and metals like gold, silver, platinum, and copper are also found in monitors. Instead of continually mining these raw materials and damaging the environment, they can be melted and reused. Recycling provides a great source of materials needed in manufacturing.

Knowing what kind of monitor you have is helpful when it comes to recycling. CRT monitors are heavy and bigger in size. These monitors were popular in the 1980s through the early 2000s.

LCD monitors became popular as CRTs phased out. Liquid crystals, polarizers, and backlight produced images. It can be hard to tell them apart. Look up the model number and manufacturer to find out. As they’re both recycled at e-waste facilities, it shouldn’t matter much. It’s CRT monitors that are more likely to cost money to recycle.

Monitors are broken down to separate the glass, plastic, and electric components at the facility. If any parts are valuable, they’re set aside for refurbishing projects. Metal, glass, and plastic get shredded and sent to facilities to become materials for new products.

Consider Donating Your Monitor

If your old monitor is in good shape, donate it. Several non-profits welcome the donation of monitors for people in need and schools. Goodwill is one organization that accepts used monitors and other electronics. If it’s an all-in-one desktop, remember that there may be data that must be completely deleted.

You can also put a free posting up on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Freecycle, and other local forums, boards, and websites for posting free items. You’d be surprised by how many people can’t afford something new and look for free items being given away.

If it’s broken, don’t rush to recycle it. Some people like to try to fix things. If someone is looking to hone their repair skills, a repairable monitor is desirable.

Where to Recycle Your Monitor

If you can’t find anyone to take your monitor, you need to recycle it. Don’t throw it away. Monitors contain too many metals and valuable materials that could be reused.

Individuals can recycle their computer monitors through retailers like Best Buy and Staples. Goodwill takes them. You can also reach out to the manufacturer to see if they offer take-back programs. 

Local recycling facilities usually accept electronics. It’s worth having a conversation to see where they send their electronics. What you don’t want is to learn that the e-waste is sent out of the U.S. Anyone with e-Stewards certification made a pledge to ensure all electronics are recycled following the Basel Action Network’s sustainable, ethical, and secure measures.

Businesses need bulk recycling options. ERI offers e-recycling and data destruction for all levels of security. It’s one of the easiest and most secure ways to recycle old office equipment and computer monitors. We are e-Stewards certified, and everything we take for recycling is processed in one of our eight facilities – AZ, CA, IN, MA, NC, NJ, TX, and WA).

Prepare Your Monitor for Recycling

Before you recycle your monitor, prepare it. If it is an all-in-one desktop, erase all data and remove any memory sticks, SD cards, etc. Detach all cables and power cords. You can recycle those, but they should be separated from the monitor. 

If the screen is cracked, ask if you should tape it or place it in a clear bag to prevent damage to workers. It’s going to pass through a lot of hands in the recycling facility and processing facility.

Take off any items like cameras, stands, or screen extenders. If you have no use for them, you can recycle electronic items, but things like stands will need to be thrown away or donated.

If you are recycling at your local recycling facility, make sure you have the money to cover any fees. Sometimes, recycling facilities charge businesses for e-recycling, so you should ask about that if you are a business and plan to drop off electronics.

Partner With ERI

We have a better solution for businesses in need of e-waste recycling services. If you need data destruction and proof it took place following standards that meet HIPAA, military, or top-secret guidelines, ERI is here to help. We can destroy data in your place of business. You have peace of mind that the proper security measures were completed before the electronics left your  


ERI possesses several certifications due to our dedication to recycling processes that protect our workers, communities around the world, and the environment. In addition to e-Stewards, we hold four ISO certifications, AICPA SOC 2 Type II, NAID, and R2. Our facilities are CO2 Neutral, too, so you don’t have to worry about emissions while your monitor is broken down and recycled.

Has your business been clearing out old office computers and have dozens of computer monitors to recycle? Let us know what you need recycled, and what data you believe is stored on any storage devices. We’ll work out a plan to get the e-waste recycled properly or donated if there’s still life left in your electronics. Our goal is to make sure your items are recycled properly, safely, and with as little impact on the environment as possible.