There's something to be said for an industry whose products routinely outlive their usefulness. TVs, rack stereos (remember those?), speakers, or playback components like cassette decks, VHS recorders, camcorders, AV receivers — you name it.
Everyone reading this article can probably identify at least one piece of electronics gear that has made its way from the living room to the bedroom before winding up in the garage or basement — but is still working. (And you've probably got a box of old cables, too, right?)
Old electronics gear might never die, but eventually the day comes when it's time to get rid of old AV treasures. Here are a few ways to recycle gear that's past its prime.
Give it Away. Just because you no longer have a use for an old TV or stereo system doesn't mean you have to send it off to the recycling center. If it still works, stop and think: Is there anyone in your life who might be able to use it? A relative or friend, a son or daughter, grandchildren — or maybe that kid down the street who regularly cruises the neighborhood for curbside "treasures." After all, the old [fill in the blank] served you well for years and can now bring enjoyment to someone else.
Donate it to Charity. Churches, community centers, and retirement homes are all places where you can donate AV equipment that's in good working order. Schools — especially vocational schools — are another possibility. And then, of course, there are organizations such as Goodwill and the The Salvation Army, which will often make arrangements for home pickup. Bottom line: You'll feel good about helping people who are less fortunate, and maybe get a tax write-off for your charitable contribution.
Trade it for Cash. There's no shortage of places to sell your old electronics. If you're old school, think garage sales, flea markets and pawn shops. If you live online, then eBay and Craigslist are good places to start — unless you have a vintage piece of gear that might be worth more than a few bucks. In that case, dig a little deeper and seek out sites like AudioClassics.com that specialize in used equipment. There are Facebook pages aplenty dedicated to old gear, and even local shops that specialize in refurbishing everything from "silver-face" stereo receivers to turntables. You'll be putting money in your pocket while bringing joy to someone else.
eCycle it so parts and materials can be used to build new products instead of contaminating the local landfill (some electronics products contain hazardous materials). GreenerGadgets.org offers tips on recycling electronics and has an excellent Recycling Finder. Enter your ZIP code to get a list of places that accept old electronics, ranging from local electronics stores and manufacturers to Recycling Centers that accept e-waste.
There's an old saying that really rings true here: "One person's junk is another's treasure." Good luck!
To learn more about TVs and audio/video equipment — old and new — consult a CEDIA professional. Click here for a list of CEDIA-member home technology professionals in your area.