Depending on the type, there are different ways to dispose of a computer monitor. One popular way is to drop off the monitor at an electronic waste recycling center where the reusable elements will be extracted and the hazardous parts will be dispose of safely. Another method is to locate a manufacturer who will refurbish the unit for continued use. Finally, there are waste disposal companies that will destroy the monitor in a way that will not release harmful substances into the environment.
The fast development of new visual displays and the decreasing cost of these products have lead to an increase in the speed of obsolesce for some monitors. To dispose of a computer monitor safely, certain steps have to be taken to prevent harmful metals and materials from entering into the environment. This problem has led to the emergence of special laws in some areas where computer monitors are prohibited from being disposed of with other normal waste.
Recycling is an effective way to dispose of a computer monitor. There are companies and municipalities that will attempt to extract valuable metals such as gold and copper from the circuit boards so they can be reused. Other viable parts might be sold as surplus to electronics manufacturers. Although it is possible to recycle plastic casings and some other parts, it often takes more energy to do this than it would to produce new plastics.
Many display manufacturers will help dispose of a computer monitor either as a service or because of local legislation. This process usually involves giving the unit to a distributor or retailer that works with the company. Monitors disposed of in this way are not always recycled and occasionally are shipped to landfills in countries that have less-strict laws about electronic waste. Sometimes, monitors can be refurbished and resold or donated.
A more common way to dispose of a computer monitor is to find a company or location that will simply disassemble the unit and dispose of each individual part according to the proper hazardous waste regulations. There is some labor involved in performing this type of service, so there might be charges associated with disposal of the monitor. Often, the displays are shipped in bulk to larger centers where they can be incinerated.
It is important to dispose of a computer monitor in the correct way. Elements such as lead and mercury are contained in the monitors, even if only in small amounts. These metals can seep into the soil, water supply and sometimes even the air causing contamination that is harmful for nearby residents.