How to Recycle Your Appliances
Whether you’re renovating your home or just upgrading to a more energy-efficient model, deciding to recycle an old appliance may be a good environmental move. Not only can it help find a new life for many of the metal, plastic and glass parts, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says recycling may also help ensure that any harmful chemicals operating inside your refrigerator or other appliance are discarded in a responsible manner.
Here are five simple options for recycling appliances at your disposal.
Donate to Charity
If your appliance is clean and in good working order, you may find that there are a number of charities that are happy to take it as a donation. Habitat for Humanity, for instance, operates ReStore, a chain of home improvement outlets that accept gently used appliances, often with a free pickup. Many Salvation Army locations do the same and even provide you with an estimate of the tax-deductible amount of your gift.
Ask a Retailer
One of the easiest ways to recycle an appliance is to have a retailer do it for you. When you buy a new appliance, you can ask the store to haul away your old unit when they deliver the new one (they’ll likely tack on a fee). The EPA suggests working with retailers who’ve partnered with its Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program, because they’ve agreed to use environmental best practices to recover and dispose of the materials.
Check with Your Utility Provider
As a way to encourage customers to use more energy-efficient appliances, many electrical utility providers offer recycling programs to help rid customers of their old energy-hogging units. They’ll often pick up your old appliance and will, in many cases, offer a cash rebate or a credit on your bill in exchange. Check the EPA’s list of utility partners to see if your provider is among those offering such a service.
Contact Your Municipality
EnergyStar.gov says that some local waste management departments have curbside pickup for “heavy trash” or “white goods” (a term that describes large household appliances, like refrigerators, which were frequently finished in white enamel). curbside pickup for refrigerators and other appliances. In some cases, the fee for this service is waived if you’re able to bring the appliance to an area drop-off point yourself. Check with your municipality to see whether either option is available to you.
Use a Service
If you still can’t find someone to pick up your appliance, or you just don’t have the means to haul the unit yourself, you may find that a local scrapper or commercial junk removal company is a practical solution. Generally speaking, these services do all the heavy lifting for you, but they may require a thing or two first. 1-800-GOT-JUNK, for instance, asks that you disconnect the appliance before their arrival. However, make sure the company you’re working will recycle the appliance appropriately, says the EPA.
Whichever method you chose, you can feel good knowing that recycling is a great way to retire your old appliances. What’s more, in most cases, you’re not even required to lift a finger.
Originally published on April 22, 2013.