When it comes time for you to replace your refrigerator, stove or any other household appliance, it’s likely you’ll spend a lot of time trying to decide on the specific features for your new one. But equally important is the question of how to dispose of your old unit in an environmentally responsible manner.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the refrigerants found in dehumidifiers, air conditioners and older refrigerators contain greenhouse gasses that, when released into the atmosphere, can destroy the ozone layer.
What’s more, many household appliances contain hazardous components and toxins such as mercury that can be poisonous when thrown into a landfill. Even if these toxins weren’t an issue, these appliances contain an enormous amount of metal that can be put to better use than merely filling up landfills.
No matter what size the appliance is that you need to throw out, or what kind of circuitry or electronics are in it, here are five solutions to get rid of them in an environmentally conscious way:
1. Sell. If your appliance is still serviceable, you can put up a classified ad on your local newspaper’s website or on a free listing website. If you really don’t need the extra money, you can list it for free. One of the advantages of either selling or donating it this way is that most likely the person you sell to will come to pick it up. This is a huge help if you don’t own a truck for transportation!
2. Donate. As long as the appliance still works well, you can also stop by your local Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross or Salvation Army to donate your old appliance, and in the process, count it as a charitable donation and get a tax deduction. Like with Craigslist, some donation centers will come and pick it up for you.
3. Haul-away programs. Many retailer or manufacturers give consumers the option to have their old appliance picked up, hauled away and recycled for you. So when you go shopping for your new dishwasher or refrigerator, ask if the store has a deal where they will dispose of your old appliance if you buy a new one. If not, try calling the manufacturer of your old appliance to see if they have a similar program.
4. Recycle. While you can’t toss a microwave into the recycling bin, they are easy to recycle. States and cites have different regulations, so be sure to do your research. Websites such as Earth911.com or 1800gotjunk.com can help guide you through the process and connect you with local collection services.
5. Scrap and sell. This option isn’t for everyone, but if you like to tinker and look under the hood at how things work, you might be itching to take apart your busted washing machine or stove. In the process of doing this, there are a few parts you can salvage and go on to sell. You might have to call around to local repair shops to see if they are interested in buying the parts — and if so, which parts they are interested in.
Of the possible routes you can take in discarding your old appliances, many are easy and safe for the environment.