How to Responsibly Recycle Appliances

Old refrigerators waiting to be scrapped at a recycling center.

Eco-Friendly Solutions for Disposing Commercial and Residential Appliances

At some point, nearly every home and business owner will need to dispose of an old appliance. Unfortunately, this task can be somewhat confusing due to conflicting information. As a result, many property owners take the convenient route and abandon their appliances at a landfill. Sadly, appliance waste is steadily increasing. In fact, appliance waste is showing no sign of slowing down. A cumulative 2.1 million tons of appliances were discarded in landfills in 2017 (according to the EPA). Moreover, just 6% of small appliances were recycled that same year.

At Mr. Handyman of Greater Syracuse, we strongly advocate for every property owner to recycle their appliances in an eco-friendly manner – whether disposing of a refrigerator, coffee maker, microwave, or washing machine. Doing so will reduce pollution, benefit the environment, and keep waste at a minimum. We understand that a significant barrier to recycling appliances is a lack of information. We hope this blog post provides a solution to this problem by clearly outlining environmentally sensitive recycling options.

Recycling Old Appliances Can Help Sustain a Healthy Ecosystem

We realize that home and business owners inevitably replace old appliances due to defects, malfunctions, routine replacements, and/or the desire to upgrade to sleeker, more energy-efficient machines. Individuals discard large and small appliances for many valid reasons. Our focus is to promote recycling and eco-sensitive methods.

There’s nothing wrong with renovating and modernizing your household or office. In many situations, upgrading your appliances is a net benefit for the planet as your replacement will consume less energy, thus reducing resource depletion, greenhouse gas emissions, and other negative consequences of relying heavily on the power grid.

We recommend you seek out environmentally friendly methods when recycling large appliances. Improperly discarded appliances can be detrimental to the environment, releasing:

  • Hazardous substances, such as mercury, oil, and polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Greenhouse gasses, including methane and carbon dioxide
  • Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) found in refrigerants and coolants

Dumping an old appliance at the local landfill is not an eco-friendly decision. Here are some alternative solutions to help you be more conscious of your carbon footprint.

How to Responsibly Recycle Appliances

Swap Your Appliance

Many retail outlets will pick up your old appliance when delivering and/or installing your replacement unit. Some appliance sellers charge an extra fee for this service. For many, the convenience and peace of mind in knowing your appliance will be recycled and disposed of professionally is worth the price tag. It will streamline the replacement process and ensure precious materials and parts are repurposed – thereby benefiting the earth and society.

Schedule an Appliance Recycle Pick Up

If your retailer/seller does not offer appliance swap or is overcharging for the service, we recommend searching for appliance recycling services in your area. Energy providers often offer affordable programs. Some even provide energy vouchers to neutralize the costs. Another great option is relying on the Public Works Department’s bulk trash pickup service. Many cities offer extensive recycling programs for minimal cost or free. We suggest asking where your appliance will end up to avoid sending it to a landfill.

Resell or Donate Your Appliance

Donating or reselling an appliance may be wise and advantageous if it is still functioning and in decent shape. There are endless marketplaces, forums, and message boards on the Internet where people search for cheap or free goods. Some local thrift stores and used appliance outlets may also be interested in your unit. Be sure to keep safety in mind when selling or giving anything away for free online. Remain mindful that repurposing old appliances is not always the most sustainable solution. An inefficient unit can consume excessive energy and increase emissions exponentially.

Sell the Parts

Consider selling your old appliances to scrapping companies or haulers. These “bounty programs” pay you to remove old units and sell reusable parts. This value is derived from recycling ferrous metals, such as steel and iron. According to a survey conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 3.1 million tons of ferrous metal were recovered from shredded appliances in 2018. Furthermore, other materials, such as glass and plastics, are often recycled from scrapped appliances.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently created the Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program to reduce appliance waste. This program promotes appliance recycling methods that go above and beyond – extracting foam, refrigerants, insulation, and other hazardous materials safely and environmentally.

Appliance Recycling Solutions

At Mr. Handyman of Greater Syracuse, we strongly advocate for sustainable appliance disposal solutions. Recycling valuable or hazardous materials in a considerate manner is our collective responsibility. Finding optimal recycling solutions for waste streams will help decrease the effects of polluted landfills and wasted resources. We can help you recycle your old appliances properly. Together, we can ensure precious metals and other materials continue to benefit everyone.

To learn more about appliance repairs and replacement services, call anytime!