Appliance removal, disposal, and recycling
The Most Complete Guide to Proper Appliance Disposal and Understanding Your Options
Part of buying a new appliance is figuring out how to get rid of the old, unwanted appliance. Because it seems like the easiest option, your first thought may be to take the used appliance to the curb. Unfortunately, most city trash services won’t pick up an appliance left at the curb, and you’ll likely be fined for dumping it there.
No need to worry, because you’re reading the essential guide to proper appliance disposal, with 7 ecologically safe ways to get rid of your old appliances.
Introduction to Appliance Disposal
Old appliances contain dangerous chemicals that harm the environment. Plus, they’re bulky and weigh a lot more than we think. Transporting used appliances from your home to a landfill or transfer station is a tough task. If you don’t have a truck or the proper transportation, this will become an even harder endeavor than you signed up for. On top of that, there are many ins and outs of the appliance removal process that need to be assessed. Only a handful of places will take old appliances and most charge a disposal fee.
Knowing your options will help you make the most informed decision about your appliance disposal. We have put together a few options to guide you through your appliance removal that will be easy and earth-friendly. The first step is to assess the condition of your appliance.
Assessing Appliance Condition
The condition of your appliance is going to determine the best way to remove it from your home. You’ll want to judge how well the appliance works, the age of the appliance, any health hazards, and more.
Depending on the appliance, it will have a lifespan of about 10 to 20 years. Modern appliances made after the 1970s and 80s are stamped with serial numbers to indicate their date of manufacture. If the appliance is older, you will probably need to research or hire a product specialist to figure out the appliance’s age.
You can determine the condition of your appliance by checking for any abnormal noises or irregular movement. If a washing machine, dryer, or other appliance makes loud noises or vibrates excessively, it will need a thorough inspection. Evaluate and note any other abnormalities you may find; this information can be useful in diagnosing any problems and needed repairs.
Look for Mold and Mildew
Indoor moisture is the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. These fungi cousins can grow in any household appliance. Thoroughly inspect your old appliances for any black spots or bad smells. It’s important to get rid of mold or mildew in your home quickly, as they can cause serious health problems such as asthma and lung disease.
Have you noticed your lights flickering or an unexplained jump in your power bill? One or more of your appliances are likely to blame. Older appliances tend to be less energy-efficient and begin to malfunction as they age. The resulting power surges can cause electrical damage to your home ranging from a tripped breaker to an electrical fire.
Check for Infestation
Insects such as cockroaches love to live and lay their eggs in hidden spots near a food and water source. This makes appliances prime real estate, and infestation a common problem. Look inside and around appliances for signs of activity such as shed skins, egg cases, and droppings. Use a flashlight to thoroughly inspect cracks and crevices.
OPTION 1: Donate to Charity
If you find that your appliance is less than 10 years old and in good, working condition, think about donating it to a local charity. You can help protect the environment and provide assistance to people in need by donating your gently used appliances. Many nonprofit organizations will likely accept your unwanted refrigerator, washer/dryer set, etc. Once donated, it will be used by a struggling family or resold in the charity’s thrift shop with the revenue going to finance their work and programs in the area. You can be at ease and smile knowing that the appliances that once helped care for you and your family can keep working to make a warm and happy home for someone less fortunate in your community.
Nationwide Charities Accepting Appliance Donations
Habitat for Humanity
Call your nearest Habitat for Humanity ReStore to confirm their donation hours and whether they offer pickup of large items.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army offers pickup 2 weeks to a month after scheduling. Appliances may also be dropped off at a Salvation Army Family Store.
Goodwill currently only accepts small household appliances, which can be dropped off at your nearest Goodwill donation center.
St. Vincent De Paul
Contact your local St. Vincent de Paul chapter to find out what appliances they can accept and where to drop off your donation.
OPTION 2: Recycle Your Appliance
About 9 million refrigerators alone are thrown away each year. Most people think broken appliances can’t be recycled and are destined for the landfill. However, this is a huge misconception. Large household appliances such as air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers can be recycled! When your appliance is in poor condition or broken beyond repair, the best choice for disposal is to recycle it. Dumping an old appliance illegally or in a landfill can be dangerous.
Most appliances contain hazardous elements like Mercury and coolants that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and destruction of the ozone layer. The release of these toxic chemicals can contaminate groundwater as well, making their way into the local water supply. These toxins can cause serious illness including cancer and damage to the liver, brain, and immune system.
Tossing your used appliances in a landfill or somewhere illegal is harmful to the environment, the community, and your family.
Want to do your part to protect the environment and your community in a simple way? Skip the dump, and recycle your old appliances. You’ll feel good about doing something good!
City Recycling Programs
Most cities offer local appliance recycling programs since many states have banned landfill disposal of household appliances. While most cities require drop-off of items to be recycled, some do offer curbside pickup service. You’ll need to call your local solid waste office for details on what services they offer and any regulations.
There are a few steps you need to take in order to prepare your appliances for recycling. Unplug and drain the appliance of any water several days before pickup or drop-off. Make sure the appliance is completely clean and dry. If the appliance contains any mercury or coolant, you’ll need to have it removed by a professional before recycling.
Appliance Items Not Recyclable:
- Freon and other coolants
- Items that are infested with insects or mold
- Plastic liners
- Mercury switches and relays
- Glass shelving
- Items that have been recalled
- Ozone-depleting foam insulation
- Used oil from cooling circuits
- Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) capacitors
- Blowing agents from foam insulation
OPTION 3: Sell Your Appliance
When your appliance is in good, working condition, you can try to sell it through an online platform or local newspaper. The condition and age of your unwanted appliance will determine how much it can be sold for. This is a great option for putting a little extra cash in your wallet, plus you’ll be helping someone replace a broken appliance when they might not be able to afford a brand new one. You could also put the income towards a new appliance for yourself.
Facebook Marketplace is a tool that allows Facebook users to buy and sell items with people nearby. Once you post a picture, description, and price of the appliance you are selling in Marketplace, potential buyers can find it by either browsing categories or searching for related keywords and filtering by price or location. When someone decides to buy your appliance, they can contact you to work out the details of the transaction.
Craigslist is a popular online classified listings website. Sellers post listings for items on their location page under the category it falls under. You can easily post your appliance for sale on the website for free. Use pictures and a specific description to quickly attract buyers. When you find a buyer and meet them to complete the transaction, make sure to meet in a public place and bring someone with you if possible.
Oodle takes a bit of a different approach to helping you locally sell your used appliance. When you use other local marketplace apps and pages, they only show you listings directly posted to their site. Oodle, on the other hand, shows you listings that people posted on the Oodle website, as well as listings from similar services such as Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, Letgo, OfferUp, and eBay.
Whether you are selling or donating your old appliance, remember to be considerate. If you would be embarrassed to receive it, then you probably shouldn’t pass it on to someone else. If your appliance is broken or infested, it needs to be properly and safely destroyed. Your best option may be to hire an appliance disposal professional.
OPTION 4: Give Your Appliance Away
Giving away your appliance doesn’t mean you need to donate it to a charity or other organization. You can always give it to a friend or family member you are aware may need one or has been in the market for a specific appliance. It’s a great way to hand down your old appliance without having the burden of recycling it properly weighing on you.
Share The Love
Pass on your old appliance to a person who just graduated college or a family that has bought their first home. A recent college graduate is likely living on a tight budget. First-time homebuyers spent all of their hard-earned money on the down payment and closing costs of their home. At these pivotal times in a person’s life, buying new appliances isn’t on the top of their priority list.
Move It Downstairs
Instead of getting rid of your old appliance, is there another room in your home that could use it? An older refrigerator or freezer could be placed in the garage for excess kitchen storage, in the kids’ playroom for quick access to juice, or in the basement for hosting parties. Not only are you still putting your old appliance to good use, you’re providing easy access for your family or guests.
Give To A Startup
Do you have a friend or family member who just opened their own business? When you first start a business, it can take anywhere from a few months to a few years until a profit is turned. Giving your fridge or dishwasher to a startup as a business warming gift can help make a bare-bones office more comfortable.
Ask Your Community
Start by asking your homeowner’s association or property manager if there’s a community forum you can post in to re-home your appliance. They may have an internal message board for these types of situations. You may also want to advertise your free appliance by putting up flyers around your neighborhood.
OPTION 5: Fix Up Your Appliance
Although your old appliance may be a hunk of junk, it may not be in the budget to purchase a new one. In this case, you’ll need to fix up your old appliance or have it repaired. Depending on the age of your appliance, calling a repairman could save you 20-30% versus buying something brand-new.
Refrigerator Maintenance: If your refrigerator is leaking or overheating, check around the coils and drain hose to make sure there isn’t dust, ice, or debris buildup. Remove all of the buildup and it should help your refrigerator’s temperature level out. If this doesn’t help, call a repairman. They can find the root of the problem and replace any parts for half the price of a new one.
Water Valve: Is your washing machine filling up slowly with water or not at all? Check the water valve. It may be clogged or restricted. Try clearing out the valve and then run a rinse and drain cycle. If it requires a replacement, it should cost less than $100. You can try to do this on your own by watching tutorials on Youtube.
Dryer Heating Elements: A drum spinning without heating anything could be caused by a bad fuse, timer, thermostat, or temperature switch. If the dryer is getting overheated, then you most likely have a clogged vent or faulty heating coil. There are fairly easy and cost-effective solutions for any of these problems.
Air Conditioner Troubleshooting: Living in areas that are especially hot like Arizona or Florida will drive you crazy if your air conditioner breaks down. Common A/C issues are poor airflow, dirty coils or filters, or lack of refrigerant. Start by inspecting your air conditioner to determine if any of these items are the culprit.
Drum Roller: Your washing machine made a loud thud and now you’re worried about shelling out the cash for a brand new appliance. A loud noise does not mean you should be scared. Some issues are easily explainable. The washer may need a new roller for the drum which could be as cheap as $10-15.
Thermostat Reset: For an HVAC unit that has stopped working, try resetting the thermostat. In order to do this, you need to first turn off the thermostat. Then, find the circuit breaker box and reset it. Give the air conditioner a half hour to reset. Once the time has passed, turn the thermostat back to cool and see if the airflow returns to normal.
Oven Fuses: If your oven won’t start, it may be due to a blown fuse. A blown fuse can also be a sign of a wiring or component problem, so you’ll want to check the heating element and wiring before replacing the fuse. Remember to disconnect the oven or range from the main power source before servicing it.
Spray Arms: Have you noticed that your dishes are coming out of the dishwasher still dirty? The spray arms could likely be to blame. Check to make sure they are not clogged with debris, loose, cracked, or worn down. If they are clogged, you’ll also want to check for any problems with the filtration system.
Water Heating Element: An electric water heater that has started making strange popping noises could be an indication of mineral deposits on the heating element, especially if you have hard water. Simply remove the heater element and clean or replace it, keeping an eye out for any leaks afterward.
OPTION 6: Repurpose Your Appliance
Instead of dealing with selling your used appliances or taking them to be recycled or donated, you can also use the materials they are made of in other ways around your home. Even if your old refrigerator or washing machine is broken beyond repair, you can still get plenty of use out of its parts. Common appliance materials such as the steel cabinets, glass and wire shelving, heating elements, metal coils, and some plastic parts can be reused.
Steel Appliance Cases
The steel outer casing of large appliances can be recycled and reused in the production of new appliances and numerous other items. Aside from being used for scrap metal, steel appliance cabinets can also be repurposed as creatively useful home goods.
Recycled Steel: Every year, about 70 million tons of steel scrap from products like appliances, cans, cars, and construction materials are made into items such as new appliances, aircraft, plumbing, and ductwork. Repurposing metal from old appliances in this way helps to reduce waste and pollution by about 80%.
Get Creative with Steel: You can get a little crafty and transform the steel casing of your old appliance into something new and exciting. An old refrigerator can be turned on its side and repurposed as a luxury doghouse or DIY bar cooler for parties. Try turning your old stove into a garden table, or that unwanted dryer into an aquarium.
Most appliance heating elements are made of a heating alloy wire inside of a stainless steel alloy tube. They can be shaped as a straight rod, like in a toaster oven, or bent into a spiral or S-shape to heat larger areas, like in an oven or stove.
Recycled Heating Elements: Most heating elements used in household appliances are made of an alloy called nichrome. Nichrome can be recycled as scrap metal and used in new products including fireworks, 3D printers, and mufflers.
Get Creative with Heating Elements: Since heating elements come in all shapes and sizes, they can be used for a variety of craft projects. Turn those old stove coils and toaster wire into conversation-starting pieces such as wind chimes, wall art, or metal sculpture.
Cooling appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, and drink coolers keep items cold through the use of a refrigerant running through a series of coils. These condenser coils are most often made of aluminum, copper, or an alloy.
Recycled Condenser Coils: The recycled copper from old condenser coils is extremely valuable, having at least 95% the value of copper from newly mined ore. Metals recycled from condenser coils can be found in anything from door hinges to medical equipment.
Get Creative with Condenser Coils: Condenser coils from an old, unwanted fridge can be upcycled into Pinterest-worthy wall racks, display boards, or lighting fixtures. In addition to your used appliance, all you need is a few basic tools and some imagination.
Shelves & Racks
Racks and shelving from appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers, while made of materials which we usually think of as being recyclable, can be hard to recycle due to their composition. Without a market for them, these products often end up in the landfill.
Recycled Shelves & Racks: Tempered glass from refrigerator shelves can be crushed and used as a concrete additive. Any racks or shelves made from metal are likely able to be recycled as scrap, while any plastic materials may be able to be sold to manufacturers.
Get Creative with Shelves & Racks: If you’re worried about them ending up in the landfill, there are many DIY products you can make out of the shelving and racks from your old appliances. Towel racks, floating bookshelves, and closet organizers are a few examples of items you can create.
**Disassembling an appliance can be dangerous due to sharp objects. Be careful and proceed with caution.
OPTION 7: Hire A Disposal Pro
You’ve probably already guessed that getting rid of your unwanted old, used appliance can be a big hassle and a lot of work. Though tempting, you really don’t want to dump your appliance in an empty parking lot, on the curb, or behind a local business.
If you want to save time, effort, and the environment when getting rid of your old appliances, there’s a better way: hire an Appliance Removal Pro to do the work for you.
LoadUp Junk Removal
LoadUp is a nationwide appliance disposal and junk removal service with honest, upfront pricing and quick online booking. With dedicated six-day-a-week disposal and recycling in over 160+ US cities, it’s easy to book a pickup that fits your schedule. Just call or book online the day before to receive next-day service.
- 250 + Local Driver Teams
- 160 + Nationwide Cities Covered
- 43,500 + Junk Items Removed
- 29,000 + Happy Customers Served
- 2.5 Million + Pounds Diverted From Landfills
Reasons to Hire Our Professionals
Our friendly pickup professionals are fully insured and background-checked before entering your home. They’ll do all the heavy lifting, from pickup to hauling and delivery to a recycling center or charity. Most junk removal companies inflate their prices or won’t take just one appliance, but we will! View Pricing ❯
Not only will we take your single appliance, but we can also haul away furniture or mattresses for you. Maybe the environment doesn’t want your old appliance, but we do! What We Take ❯
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Appliance Disposal Customer Reviews
Find out why customers prefer LoadUp Junk Removal when they need affordable, honest, and professional appliance disposal services. Our customer support team’s goal is to make your disposal experience with us convenient and stress-free.
OPTION 8: Dump It Yourself “DIY”
We strongly advise against dumping your old appliance yourself. Disposing of your appliance improperly has a big impact on the environment. The most eco-friendly way to dispose of your old appliance is to have it recycled. Recycling lowers emissions of ozone-depleting substances and reduces energy consumption. The metal, glass, and plastic parts can also be reused or repaired.
The way an appliance is discarded can have a huge impact on the environment. Chemicals found in most appliances create hazardous pollution when not properly drained and destroyed. When you dump an old appliance in the landfill, this is just as bad as leaving it on the curb. The mercury, PCBs, CFCs, and other substances that are leaked as a result are a danger to waste workers and local citizens alike.
Whether you’re upgrading to something new or just making some room, consider these facts when disposing of your appliance:
- Appliances contain dangerous substances like mercury and Freon.
- Local water supplies become contaminated by chemical runoff in landfills.
- Each appliance takes up an average of 21 cubic feet of landfill space.
- Over 18 million appliances are thrown out every year.
Doing The Right Thing!
Local regulations for proper appliance disposal vary considerably depending on your area. Some cities may prohibit the disposal of ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, and other appliances in landfills.
If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us and our dedicated LoadUp support team will always help you with finding the right appliance disposal solution for you!