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What Do You Do With an Old CRT Monitor?

Written by: Glenn R. Onassis
What to do with an old CRT monitor

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) monitors, which dominated the display market from the early days of computing until the widespread adoption of flat-panel displays, have become a relic of the past. These bulky, heavy, and power-hungry devices may seem like a burden, but they still have some practical applications and creative potential. In this article, we will explore several options to help you repurpose or recycle your old CRT monitor, ensuring it doesn’t end up in a landfill.

The Retro Gaming Community Is Huge, Join Them

CRT monitors offer a unique gaming experience that is highly sought-after by retro gaming enthusiasts. Their low input lag, high refresh rates, and rich color reproduction make them perfect for playing classic games. Depending on your taste buds, you have several options to choose from.

  • If you’re a fan of gambling, you can easily relive the whole history of card games by simply connecting a low-end PC build and connecting it to the internet. From there on, you have the possibility of playing most of the classic hits, including video poker, directly from your browser. For our experience, your best bet would be to stick with Ignition’s Casino poker lobby, here’s the link:  https://www.ignitioncasino.eu/casino/video-poker
  • If you’re more in to console gaming, you can connect a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Sega Genesis, or Atari 2600 to your CRT monitor, and enjoy the nostalgic experience of gaming as it was in the ’80s and ’90s. Additionally, CRT monitors can be used with arcade cabinets, offering an authentic arcade gaming experience. If you’re looking for proper tips and tricks, be sure to check out Reddit’s CRT Gaming Community under this link: https://www.reddit.com/r/crtgaming/
  • If you’re an enthusiast of vintage computing, a CRT monitor is an essential component to complete your classic setup. You can connect the monitor to an old computer like an Apple II, IBM PC, or Commodore 64 and relive the glory days of computing. This not only offers an authentic experience for running old software and games but also serves as a piece of living history. If you want a mix of modern tech with a retro feeling, you could also opt in for a C64 Mini, which would be a great addition to a CRT monitor. You can find more info about the project here: https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/THEC64Mini

Art and DIY Projects

  • Transform your old CRT monitor into a statement piece or conversation starter by repurposing it as an art object. With a little creativity, you can turn the monitor into a retro fish tank, a vintage planter, or even a steampunk-inspired table lamp. These projects not only give your monitor a second life but also allow you to express your artistic flair and add a unique touch to your home or office decor.
  • Create an oscilloscope for your garage. An essential tool for electronics hobbyists and professionals alike that doesn’t draw too much power. With a few modifications, you can turn your CRT monitor into a functional oscilloscope. This project requires some knowledge of electronics and soldering, but the end result is a useful piece of test equipment that can be used for troubleshooting and analyzing electronic circuits, or just doing some random stupid things to impress people like us. Check out this YouTube video below to see an example with a TV:

Donate It to a Non Profit or School

Many educational institutions and non-profit organizations may still have a need for CRT monitors, especially those with limited resources. By donating your old monitor, you can help these organizations save money and provide them with valuable technology. Be sure to reach out to local schools, libraries, or community centers to inquire if they can put your CRT monitor to good use.

Or Just Get Rid of It, That’s Also an Option

If your CRT monitor is beyond repair or reuse, it is crucial to recycle it responsibly. CRTs contain hazardous materials like lead, phosphors, and mercury that can harm the environment if not disposed of correctly. Many electronic waste (e-waste) recycling centers accept CRT monitors and properly process them to ensure the safe disposal of these hazardous materials.

Here are the steps to recycle your old CRT monitor responsibly:

  1. Find a recycling facility: Start by locating a nearby electronic waste (e-waste) recycling facility or a community recycling event that accepts CRT monitors. Some cities or municipalities provide recycling services for electronic waste as part of their waste management programs. You can check your local government’s website or contact their waste management department for more information.
  2. Prepare the CRT monitor for recycling: Before you take your CRT monitor to a recycling facility, make sure you have removed any cables or accessories that may be attached. This includes power cords, VGA cables, and any other peripherals. Keep these accessories separately, as they can be recycled as well.
  3. Transport the monitor safely: CRT monitors can be heavy and fragile, so ensure that you transport them with care to prevent any damage or injury. Use a vehicle with enough space to accommodate the monitor, and secure it in place to prevent it from moving around during transit. If possible, wrap the monitor in a blanket or protective material to minimize the risk of damage.
  4. Drop off the monitor at the recycling facility: When you arrive at the e-waste recycling facility, follow their guidelines for safely dropping off your CRT monitor. Some facilities may require you to unload the monitor yourself, while others may have staff to assist you. Make sure to follow any specific instructions provided by the facility to ensure the proper handling and disposal of your CRT monitor.
  5. Consider donating or recycling fees: While some recycling facilities offer free CRT monitor recycling, others may charge a small fee to cover the costs of proper disposal. Additionally, if you’re unable to locate a local recycling facility, some charities or non-profit organizations may accept CRT monitors as donations. These organizations may refurbish the monitors for use in educational or community programs or recycle them on your behalf.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your old CRT monitor is recycled responsibly, minimizing its environmental impact and contributing to a more sustainable future.

And to Conclude…

While the days of CRT monitors being the go-to display option are long gone, they still hold a certain nostalgic charm and practical uses. By repurposing your old monitor for retro gaming, art projects, or vintage computer setups, you can extend its life and keep it out of landfills. If your monitor is beyond repair, remember to recycle it responsibly to minimize the environmental impact. With these creative and practical ideas, your old CRT monitor can find a new purpose and bring a touch of nostalgia to your life.