Old and outdated television sets are part of a rapidly growing electronic waste (e-waste) problem, which has only been exacerbated by the availability of flat screen TV's and the recent changeover to a digital TV format. Old console sets are piling up at an alarming rate, and disposing of them in landfills is becoming illegal in most states. These sets contain a host of dangerous chemicals including lead and mercury, which can easily contaminate ground water or the workers who handle them improperly.

Fortunately, there are lots of options available that make getting rid of your old television set easy and, in most cases, free.

Step 1

Test the set you want to get rid of to see if it still works. If it's functional, you can donate it to a charity organization like Goodwill, the Salvation Army or a local senior center or shelter. Even if the set isn't digital ready, a converter box can be used to make it work for very little cost.

Step 2

If it's not in working order, call your local recycling center for information about e-waste recycling. Most locations are offering free e-waste programs several times per year, or they can lead you to the right place for more information.

Step 3

Visit a website like earth911.com and type in your zip code to get a list of e-waste recycling programs in your region.

Step 4

The following manufacturers offer take-back programs and will accept your old TV for free at stores where their products are sold: Sony, Samsung, LG (includes Zenith and GoldStar), Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba.