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What to Do With Old Computer Monitors | Resell, Reuse or Recycle?

Once in a while, you may need to upgrade your computer monitor. The upgrading process brings about a new concern; your old computer monitor. While some prefer to store old monitors and other e-waste devices in a designated store, you can put these monitors to several uses. Still, many people find it challenging to decide what to do with old computer monitors. 

Key Takeaways

  • Disposing of old monitors and replacing them with advanced computer monitors may be the most viable option 
  • You can also try selling it to a secondhand store, or even donate it to someone less fortunate
  • You may find a use for specific internal parts. Old monitors can contain significant amounts of gold – both in their pins and on their surface layers.
  • Old monitors may still be worth something if they could be refurbished

Vintage computer monitors have worth, and you should probably think twice before throwing them away. Throwing them shouldn't be an option as they are environmentally hazardous. You can sell, recycle, repurpose, or donate the computer monitor. You can also reuse specific internal computer parts.

Don't exhaust your options yet; read through to learn more on how to reuse or recycle your old monitor and get to know why it matters.

Does It Matter What to Do With Old Computer Monitors?

Yes, the safe disposal of vintage computer monitors matters. All computers, ranging from Cathode Ray Tubes to Liquid Crystal Displays, have toxins that may be harmful when disposed inappropriately to the environment.

Old computer parts

Cathode Ray Tube monitors have a leaded glass with toxic metals, which never breaks down naturally. Instead, they decompose in the soil, air, or water. This condition poses a danger to the living things and the environment. Similarly, an LCD monitor contains fluorescent bulbs that backlight the monitor. These bulbs, when disposed of, emit toxins into the surrounding, risking the living things inhabiting the environment.

Don't forget that CRT monitors are large, heavy, and outdated. These conditions imply that they take much space, are heavy to transport (unlike modern portable monitors), and can not cope with advanced electronic technologies and needs. Disposing of them and replacing them with advanced computer monitors may be the most viable option to opt for.

Ensure you do enough research on the best option to dispose of your old monitor before disposing of it. Other than recycling or selling the old monitor, you can also donate it or find a use for specific internal parts of the monitor.

How Should I Use My Old Computer Monitor?

As mentioned earlier, there are several ways you can use an old monitor. Here is a lead on the best options you can opt for.

Reselling the Old Computer Monitor

This computer monitor disposal method is the best alternative to disposing of your old monitor. Reselling the monitor is simple as you only need to find the buyer and agree on the price. You can sell to an organization or an individual computer monitor user.

Another benefit of reselling your old monitor is profit from the sale. The only challenge with this option is that it might be hard finding the old computer monitor buyer, especially the CRT monitors. (CRT monitors are large and heavy, meaning they take a lot of space. They are also outdated, and most users will opt for new advanced alternative computer monitors).

Bird view of an old computer

To help find a buyer easily, price your old monitor at a lower price than what you bought it for. You should also avoid pricing the monitor higher than another available monitor of the same size. You can list your old computer monitor in online marketplaces. However, you need to have proof of function, which may require you to attach photos with the monitor plugged in.

Recycling the Old Computer Monitor

While many computer users don't consider this option, it is, on the other hand, a worthy computer monitor disposal option. You can recycle these monitors from several electronic manufacturers and dealers found in your localities. You'll be, of course, charged a small recycling fee, which makes sense than being charged for disposing of your old computer monitor in a dumpster. (Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, fines those found disposing of old electronics, including vintage computer monitors and other environmentally harmful substances, into landfills). You'll only need to locate the electronic dealer and take your old computer monitor to their store or arrange for pick up from your location.

Old computer with a beige background


Donating the Old Computer Monitor

What else are you left to do with that old computer monitor taking up valuable space in your room than donating it out? This option isn't the immediate solution but can be the only solution if all other options prove ineffective. You may want to sell the monitor but fail to find a buyer. In this scenario, you'll need to do nothing other than find an establishment where you can donate the computer monitor.

You can donate your monitor to the less fortunate. You can also give them out to schools or libraries. The vintage computer monitors n these institutions are used to facilitate computer learning programs. Note that this method is inexpensive and unprofitable but worth receiving a fine from the EPA.

Internal Computer Monitor Parts Reuse

You may be unable to find a suitable use for the whole computer monitor, but you may find a use for specific internal parts. The internal electronic components of old computer monitors have many applications, even when the monitor is faulty or damaged. This is a more viable option as it solves the disposal concern for the monitor straight up than reselling or donating it. Also, you save on the extra coins needed to purchase components you recycle from your old computer monitor.

What Are the Best Ways to Recycle Computer Monitors?

If you opt to recycle computer monitors, you have unlimited options to recycle them. Ranging from using them as a smart mirror (you can make a customizable smart mirror that projects a computer display over a traditional reflective mirror), to using them for dual monitor setup, here is a list of how you can best use your old computer monitor.

Can You Use an Old Monitor With New Computer?

Yes, any monitor will work with any computer regardless of brand or operating system. Modern operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, and Mac are all coded to be compatible with any visual display device, such as a monitor or a TV, that can be connected to it.

How do I Know if an Old Monitor is Compatible With my Computer?

You'll need to check the output on your computer and see what kinds of ports are available (if you have a dedicated video card, you'll want to look at those outputs). Then, make sure your monitor features the same type of ports — if it doesn't, you'll need some sort of adapter or special cable


Converting the Old Computer Monitor Into a Mirror

Old LCD monitors, which are broken, can be used as mirrors. However, if the LCD monitor still functions, you can add a Raspberry Pi to make a smart magic mirror. Depending on the amount you wish to spend, you can choose varied Raspberry Pi smart magic projects.

However, MagicMirror² is the original and easiest method to create a smart mirror. This smart mirror project comes with a calendar, news feed, clock, and weather forecast.

Old computer like a brick

Making a Fish Tank

After removing all internal components of an old CRT monitor, you'll remain with an empty CRT casing. You can use the empty casing by turning it into a fish tank. You'll only need to add some Plexiglas and paint the exterior to your taste.

Turning the Old Computer Monitor Into a Dashboard

An old flat screen monitor, especially an LCD monitor, can be turned into a dashboard. You can use the Raspberry Pi (a tiny, affordable, full-functioning computer) to make a DIY DAKboard. This LCD monitor is used as a clock and shows the weather forecast, news headlines, calendar events, and stock quotes. 

All these contents are displayed on a simple photo frame. You can buy the original DAKboard or opt to do a DIY project, which is low-cost.

Using the Old Computer Monitor for a Dual Monitor Setup

You can still use an old computer monitor for a dual monitor setup as you'll do with today's vertical monitors, for example. However, the monitor needs to be functional for this use. In your dual monitor setup, the second monitor can function as a dashboard, extended screen, or video streaming screen. The extra monitor can also significantly improve your productivity.

The advantage is that nearly all desktop OS are compatible with dual monitor setups. The dual monitor setup is easy to configure, and you may need a graphics card supporting a HDMI port. Your PC should also support VGA or HDMI input connectivity.

Old computer three parts

Final Word on Old Monitors

Old computer monitors may still be worth something if they could get their second lives as refurbished monitors. Other than computer monitor recycling, reselling, and donating them to institutions and the less fortunate, there are several ideas of putting the old computer monitors into use. Discarding the old computer monitors to dumpsites should never be an option as they contain toxins that may contaminate the environment. You may also face charges from EPA for disposing of the old computer monitor into dumpsites. Do enough research before disposing of your old computer monitor.

FAQs

1. Can we just throw away old monitors?

Computer monitors, including cathode ray tube (CRT monitor), LCD and plasma monitors are considered hazardous waste. Never throw computer or television monitors in the trash, as they can leach lead and other toxic chemicals into the environment.

2. Why do people still use CRT monitors?

A lot of older games are sprite-based and CRTs have a certain magic that makes those games look and feel the best. This is not necessarily a “scientific” conclusion but is something that a lot of retro gamers have noticed and that is why they have stuck with good old monitors.

3. Why did they stop making CRTs?

Demand for CRT screens dropped in the late 2000s. The rapid advances and falling prices of LCD monitor flat panel technology — first for computer monitors, and then for televisions — spelled doom for competing display technologies such as a CRT monitor, rear-projection, and plasma display.

4. How much copper is in an old computer monitor?

These old monitors may contain between 4 and 7 percent copper, between 5 and 10 percent lead, and approximately 30 percent silica (the chief component of the glass in a CRT monitor), in addition to other material (primarily plastic from the plastic casings). CRTs also are recycled.

5. Do scrap yards take old monitors?

Scrap yards will usually NOT accept monitors, mice, keyboards, or printers though, they will accept desktop towers as a whole unit. You can also take time to take them apart for more money.

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.

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