The final ride of the old TVs: Recyling is their destiny

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

The old cathode ray tube TVs were taking up room next to a wall for months. They were heavy and bulky, and after being out in the rain for two weeks last spring, they were totally useless.

I dragged them out to the curb, hoping that someone would want them, but not even the trash truck picked them up. That’s why I dragged them back into the house.

On a recent Saturday, I dragged them out again, this time to take them to the Brazoria County Fairgrounds for electronic recycling day. I took the TVs on their final journey.

The TVs were good before getting rained on. All they needed was a converter box to receive that fancy digital signal. That’s why I thought that someone would want them.

It was sad, in a way, to realize after the rains that the old sets became garbage. No telling how many Thanksgiving Day parades and football games they have shown, just to be put out to the curb and get ruined.

As I pulled up to the recycling location, it became obvious why my old sets were not wanted. People were also getting rid of older model flat-screen TVs and those big heavy and bulky DLP TVs. I still have one of those in storage. It still works, except for the little dots on one side of the screen and the yellow blotches.

Why would anyone throw those away? You never know when you’ll need it again.

There were a lot of old-style computer monitors also, but I didn’t see all that many old TVs with the big cathode ray tubes. I got one more that I’m keeping until it becomes so old that someday I can get a lot of money for it on eBay.

One of my Facebook friends found an old magazine in mint condition in her attic, put it on eBay and sold it for $4,000. If she can get that much for a magazine, can you imagine what I could get for that old-tube TV when it’s the only one left in the world?

That will be quite a while, though, since in many parts of the world CRT TVs are still being used, and worldwide 23 million of them were manufactured last year alone. But I’m patient.

I saw on one of the TV channels that someone took a CRT TV, gutted it, and custom fitted inside it a flat screen. That’s an idea for those who want a conversation piece in the living room rather than the jumbotron.

After I searched the Internet for a few seconds, I found a few other ways you can repurpose those old TVs. I like that word -- repurpose.

• Gut the insides and replace it with an aquarium. That way your fish can be on TV. Just don’t try to change the channel, or your goldfish may be eaten by a shark.

• Here is another great idea. Replace the old curved tube with a mirror. That way you can be on TV anytime you want. No need to go in front of a camera at a sporting event and jump up and down like a clown. That is so embarrassing. Now you can do that in the privacy of your own home.

• Turn your TV into an oscilloscope. But first, find out what an oscilloscope is, and then why you would want to turn your TV into one.

• Replace those useless insides with a microwave. This is great because microwaves look like TVs anyway, and this way you’d be eating real TV dinners.

• To cook that dinner outdoors, take the 4-foot lens of a rear projection TV and install it in a wooden frame. Then wait for the sun to come out and focus the lens on whatever you’re cooking. Be careful, because the heat can raise to over 2000 degrees, which is a little higher than you need for grilled chicken thighs or that holiday turkey. It’s free heat, though, and less messy than charcoal.

• Here is one from the personal experience files. When our 25-inch vacuum tube color TV console broke in the 1980s, we just put another TV on top of it.

I wish I knew back then some of these repurposing ideas. We could have watched TV and our fish at the same time.