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How to Dispose of Appliances

How to dispose of appliances


How to Dispose Of Appliances

There are many reasons to get new appliances for your home, office, or business. Whether you need new appliances because of an upgrade or because of a remodel, it's important to consider how you will get rid of your old appliances. Learn how to dispose of appliances properly with this comprehensive guide.

How Do I Get Rid Of Appliances Near Me?

Most appliances cannot be tossed into the garbage with your other trash, as they typically contain materials considered hazardous. If your old appliances aren’t disposed of properly, they can release harmful substances like mercury, oil, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the environment.

While dumping old appliances in landfills used to be the most common disposal method, today there are many other disposal options available like reuse and recycling. In the United States, 290 million tons of garbage are produced each year, and waste management experts predict that landfill space could be used up by 2050. Keeping waste out of landfills is more important than ever.

What You Need To Know Before Disposal

Make sure to never take your appliances apart before disposing of them. Many larger appliances contain dangerous materials like poisonous foam insulation or chlorofluorocarbons, which can potentially be fatal if inhaled. Most appliance recycling facilities have professionals to remove these toxic materials, so don't attempt to do it yourself.

cans of hazardous materials

Hazardous Materials in Appliances

It’s important to identify hazardous materials in appliances to ensure safe disposal. Here are the most common materials found in appliances that pose risks to the environment:

  • Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants (pre-1995)

  • Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants

  • Foam insulation

  • Flame retardants

  • Plastics 

  • Mercury-containing components, like switches and relays

  • Hazardous oils

Do not attempt to remove chemicals and hazardous materials from old appliances. Professional assistance for refrigerant removal is required for safe and proper disposal.

9 Responsible Ways to Dispose of Appliances

1. Donate to charity

If your appliances are clean and in good working condition, donating them is a great sustainable option and can also help out those in need. National charities like Salvation Army and Goodwill will often accept working appliances and may even provide a pick-up service for donations. Habitat for Humanity is another national charity that accepts appliance donations. You can also reach out to local shelters, thrift stores, charities, and even schools and see if they are in need of the appliances you are looking to discard.

dumpster for appliances

2. Dumpster rental

One of the easiest ways to get rid of appliances is to rent a dumpster from an eco-forward waste management company. Renting a roll-off dumpster is easy to do online, and by partnering with a company focused on zero waste, you can rest assured that your old appliances are taken to sustainable appliance recycling facilities.

3. Sell or give away

If the appliance is working or needs a small repair, there are most likely people who will take it. You can place a listing on online marketplaces such as Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or other local sites. You can choose whether you'd like to sell the device for a reduced amount or if you would like to give it away for free.

If you are allowed to do so by your local municipality, you can also try placing the appliance on the sidewalk with a free sign. Only do this if you know your appliance is in working condition, or else you might make someone lug home an unrepairable device.

scrap metal appliance recycling

4. Appliance recycling

If you have appliance recycling services provided by your city, there should be local recycling stations for you to bring your appliances to. These centers might be located at a transfer station or dump. To find an appliance recycling location, reach out to your local municipality or do a quick Google search to find an appliance recycling location near you. They will typically list on their website the types of appliances they accept for recycling, but you can also call ahead to make sure they'll accept your device.

You can also look into local scrap metal recyclers in your neighborhood. Most metal recyclers would be happy to accept your old appliances as scrap metal and may even offer a small compensation for the device. has a searchable online recycling database with over 100,000 listings that could help you find a location for your appliance waste.

5. Participate in a local appliance collection event

Most cities provide events throughout the year for appliance and e-waste collection. Look into your city's waste management department site to see if they offer any timely device collection events near you.

junk removal trucks for appliance disposal

6. Hire a junk removal company

Junk removal companies are a service that comes to your location and use a pickup truck to remove unwanted items from your property, appliances being some of the common items they pick up. Junk removal companies usually charge by how much space your junk takes up, for example, you'll pay different amounts if you take up 1/2 vs. 1/4 of the truck bed. This can be a good option if you only have one appliance to get rid of, or if all your appliances can fit into one pickup truckload.

7. Contact your utility company about EPA RAD Programs in your area

The EPA created the Responsible Appliance Disposal program to help minimize the impact of electronic and appliance waste on the environment. The program identifies recycling partners that commit to responsibly handling appliance recycling and disposal and will accept your appliances for free. If there is a program in your area, this is a great cost-free way to get rid of your old appliances.

retailer appliance swaps

8. Retailer appliance swaps

Before you buy a new appliance, ask the retailer if they have a buyback program. A lot of retailers will provide a take-back service where they pick up your old appliance when delivering a new one. Make sure to ask them for more information about how they recycle old appliances to keep them out of landfills.

9. Bring to a landfill yourself

Some landfills are open to the public and will accept certain types of appliances, typically smaller ones made without any hazardous materials like freon or mercury. You can bring any accepted appliances to a landfill for disposal given the landfill is taking appliances at that time.

Regulations and Guidelines for Appliance Disposal

Disposal of refrigerants and other hazardous substances must be done in accordance with local regulations. Local regulations for appliance disposal vary, so it’s important to check with your municipality before disposing of old appliances.

You can find valuable information on your local landfill’s website about appliance regulations and fee structures, as well as details about schedules and permits. Some city waste management departments will pick up appliances of all kinds as long as you schedule a bulky waste pickup, and others require that you take them to the landfill yourself.

DIY Appliance Disposal Safety Tips

Many old appliances were made from heavy-duty steel, which makes them perfect for recycling but they can be hard on your back if you try to lift them by yourself. Use proper lifting and handling techniques, such as using a back brace for heavy lifting, using your legs to lift, and employing hand dollies wherever possible. 

Be sure to plan your route and secure your load before moving heavy objects. Also, wear protective gear, like work boots and gloves while moving your old appliances, even for short distances. Avoid electrical hazards and hire a professional if you need assistance removing electric wires, gas lines, or water pipe

Getting Rid of A Lot Of Appliances and Household Items?

If you are getting rid of multiple large and bulky appliances, a dumpster rental for household items is exactly what you need. Before booking a dumpster, make sure the items you wish to discard are allowed in a dumpster in your state.

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