Do you have an old refrigerator you want to dispose of or replace with a more efficient model? If you do, don’t just take it out with the rest of your trash. Not many cities offer refrigerator recycling as part of their garbage collection and disposal services.
If you have an old refrigerator model, the chances are that it may have a refrigerant that contains chlorofluorocarbon or hydrofluorocarbon.
These substances are harmful to the environment; hence, disposing of this bulky appliance in already crowded landfills could cause environmental pollution and limit the space that could be used to keep non-recyclable materials.
There are several ways that you could safely and efficiently dispose of your refrigerator. This article explores 7 of them. Read on to find out which method best suits you.
- Trade-in Your Fridge with a Retailer or Manufacturer
- Make an Appointment with Waste Management Service
- Drop it off at a Recycling Center
- Donate your Gently used Refrigerator to Charity
- Contract Your Electric Company for an Appliance Buy-back Program
- Resell The Refrigerator
- Sell it to a Scrapyard.
How Do I Get Rid of an Old Fridge Responsibly?
The safest way to get rid of your fridge is to call in a professional to dispose of it properly. Refrigerators contain recyclable parts and others that are an environmental hazard. For example, the metal, glass, and plastic parts of the fridge are valuable elements that can be recycled.
On the other hand, the evaporator coil, the compressor, and the insulation have substances that contain greenhouse gasses that deplete the ozone layer. For this reason, these parts of the refrigerator should be reclaimed and disposed of by a professional.
Here are some of the best ways of getting rid of your fridge;
Trade-in Your Fridge with a Retailer or Manufacturer
Before you purchase a new fridge, find out from the appliance retailer whether they offer on-to-one trade-in programs. If they do, arrange with them to haul the old fridge away as they bring in the new one.
Many appliance dealers offer this service, especially when they are making home deliveries. However, you might be required to pay an extra fee of about $10-50.
Some appliance dealers require that you request and purchase a one-to-one pickup service with new appliances and old units still in good working conditions. So don’t forget to make inquiries beforehand.
Make an Appointment with Waste Management Service
Refrigerators are bulky appliances that may not be included in the regular waste collection service in your area. So before you leave your old fridge on the curb together with the rest of your trash, call the waste management service and find out whether they make arrangements for bulky items pickup.
If they do, find out how often they offer bulk pickup and schedule a time for them to pick your old or broken fridge. They may require you to make specific preparations before the pickup, such as dismantling the refrigerator door, the locks, and hinges.
You might also need to hire a professional to remove the compressor and drain the refrigerant before disposal. If they have such requirements, note down the instructions and carefully follow them on your appointment.
Once you are done, move the fridge to the curb around the scheduled time for the pickup. Some areas offer this service for free. But you might be asked to pay a nominal fee depending on where you stay.
It’s also good to bear in mind that the waste management service might throw your fridge into a landfill. So you could consider disposing of the refrigerator through recycling programs.
Drop it off at a Recycling Center
Most states do not allow the dumping of big appliances such as the refrigerator into landfills. You can decide to recycle your old fridge by dropping it off at a recycling center. The refrigerator’s disposal through a recycling program will ensure that all the fridge parts are carefully removed and safely thrown away or recycled.
When searching for a recycling center, look for one that participates in the Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program. Most RAD recycling centers pick old refrigerators directly from homes but prepare to take it there yourself if they do not offer this service.
Donate your Gently used Refrigerator to Charity
If your fridge is still in good working condition, you don’t need to have it tossed into a landfill. You could donate it to local charities that take used refrigerators.
While some charities offer free refrigerator pick up from your home, others don’t, and so you need to figure out how to haul the fridge to the donation drop-off center. Before you drop it off, it’s good to let the charity know the type of fridge you want to donate and how big it is.
Refrigerators depreciate with time, so avoid donating a fridge in poor condition even if it is working because it won’t give the people much service. Moreover, it will not be energy efficient and may end up requiring numerous costly repairs.
If you had stored the appliance, test it to find out whether it is still working. Performing a simple test will save the donation center from taking the broken fridge to the landfill.
Contract Your Electric Company for an Appliance Buy-back Program
You could also contact the electric company near you and determine whether they participate in an appliance buy-back program. Many energy-efficient organizations support old appliance recycling programs.
If the one close to you does, schedule an appointment with them and move the old refrigerator outside to make the pickup easier unless they offer to pick it up right from your home.
Some electric companies only pick up functioning refrigerators, and so you need to make sure that yours is working before they pick it up. Expect a rebate after the pickup, although this may come in the form of credit off your electric bill.
Resell The Refrigerator
If the fridge is still in good shape, you could fetch a sizeable amount of cash by selling it to someone else. You can do this by posting pictures of the fridge on social media marketplaces like Facebook or Craigslist.
Be sure to take as many clear pictures as possible and a detailed description of the fridge. Once you get a buyer, schedule a time when they can pick it up. You could also deliver it to the buyer depending on your agreement.
Sell it to a Scrapyard.
Many scrap metal recyclers participate in the RAD program. So, if there is a scrap metal recycler close to you, you could contact them and find out whether they recover usable metal old refrigerators. If they do, you might have to load the appliance on a van or truck and transport it to the scrapyard.
Here are a few frequently asked questions about old refrigerator disposal that could further assist you in the process:
How do I get my old fridge ready for disposal?
Once you pick out the most suitable method of fridge disposal for you, get ready to dispose of it by following the few steps below:
- Defrost the evaporator by unplugging the fridge a few hours before the pickup
- Clear all foodstuffs from the refrigerator and keep the most perishable food in a cooler to keep it fresh before the new unit arrives
- Tape don loose items like fridge compartments and shelves
- Have a professional help you to dismantle the refrigerator if there is a need for it.
- Map the path through which the refrigerator will pass through and remove any obstacles on the marked-out way.
- Have someone help you to lift the fridge to the curb.
Do I take old refrigerators apart from inside my house?
There are liability requirements that should be followed when you are taking your refrigerator apart. Since you may not be familiar with all of them, it’s best to call in a professional to dismantle the appliance on the pickup day before moving it outside.
However, you can disconnect the appliance from power sources and keep it away from other substances such as fuel, compressed gas, water, oil, or charged site suppression before the professional comes.
The professional will then move the old unit outside and take it apart before it is moved.
Why should I care about responsible appliance disposal?
The older a refrigerator gets, the less efficient it becomes. Replacing an old fridge could save you up to $50 a year in electricity costs.
Moreover, a broken freezer or an old fridge that you don’t use only takes up space in your basement or garage. Getting rid of fridges and freezers through the RAD program also protects the environment.
How much does it cost to dispose of my old appliance?
The cost of having your fridge picked up or disposed of varies. In some areas, old refrigerator collection is done for free through the municipal public works department.
In other areas, this service is charged at a small fee, especially when the pickup or disposal of large appliances is not part of the local waste management service.
The cost of appliance pickup and disposal services also varies with the retailers. The service fee for this ranges between $10 to $50.
However, retailers with a trade-in policy could provide you with free pickup and disposal services for your fridge. Some even pay old fridge owners after pickup.
How do I know when I need to throw away my fridge?
The most obvious sign that you need to get rid of your refrigerator is warm food. However, before you shove it out as broken or call a maintenance specialist check whether;
- The temperature in the fridge is well set.
- The compressor at the back of your fridge is making nasty noises. This could be a sign that the compressor is getting old.
- The motor is running, but the temperature in the fridge is still high. If this is so, the compressor could be broken.
- There is a significant build-up of ice in the freezer. This could be a sign of broken coils.
These are signs that your fridge is growing old and needs to be replaced. Please don’t wait till it gives out to replace it. Get a new refrigerator as soon as possible for maximum operating capacity and efficiency.
And when you do, remember to dispose of the old fridge in a way that preserves the environment.