By Dani Villalobos on January 30, 2013

The breakdown on how to disassemble and ditch your PCB without taking up any landfill space.

recycling printed circuit board

Printed circuit boards can be recycled if you follow the steps to properly remove them from the device.

Television — we can’t live without it. But, what happens when your beloved TV set projects its last flicker, and it is time to trade in for a newer model?

Sidestep a trip to your local landfill with these tips on how to properly dismantle and reprocess the brains of your TV’s operation, the printed circuit board.

Riddled with tiny metal pathways leading to unidentifiable destinations, the PCB is the technical mastermind behind the management of your television set’s video and audio signals. And, when that key component is finally kaput, the various metals and plastics it is comprised of can be recycled into new products.

The removal

The disassembling process of a PCB is a fairly simple one. After you have carefully flipped your unplugged TV set face down and have unscrewed and removed the back casing, just follow the main power cord to locate the circuit board.

Disconnect all of the wires and screws while keeping the PCB in place, and carefully slide it out. If you are switching out a defunct circuit board for a new one and plan to continue using your TV, be sure to slip on an anti-static bracelet to prevent any unintentional damage to the set’s other electrical components.

The recycling route

There are many recycling centers that accept electronic equipment, including PCBs and fully assembled television sets. Once a TV arrives at a recycling facility, shredders and granulators are then used to help grind the circuit board down to a powder, making it easier to separate into plastics and precious metals. These granules will be salvaged for plastic containers and packaging, with the metals being recycled into everything from new computer chips to jewelry.

To find an e-waste recycling drop-off center nearest you, head here.

About the author

By age 7, Dani had perfected the art of storytelling. She regularly regaled her parents with after-school tales of evil math equations and their allies, the wic[...]
Learn more about Dani Villalobos

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