If you’re thinking about ways you can be more “eco-friendly” in anticipation of Earth Day on April 22, countless options probably come to mind. Some of the more common Earth Day activities might include helping to clean up a local park, planting some flowers or trees, or installing energy-efficient light bulbs throughout your home.
As appliance experts, we wanted to remind you of another great Earth Day activity that involves properly disposing of older appliances. Refrigerators, freezers, dehumidifiers, and air conditioners can all be hazardous to the environment if not handled responsibly.
Why are certain appliances so dangerous?
Older appliances may contain refrigerants and foam blowing agents depending on the year they were manufactured. These chemicals are not only harmful to the Earth’s ozone layer, but they also contain potent greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change if not properly recycled or destroyed. Newer units don’t use ozone depleting chemicals anymore, but still rely on refrigerants that can emit greenhouse gases.
What are the benefits of proper appliance disposal?
Consider that roughly nine million refrigerators, six million window air conditioners, and one million dehumidifiers are disposed of each year. The proper removal and disposal of these appliances would:
- Prevent thousands of gallons of used oil and mercury from contaminating waterways and the environment.
- Prevent the release of several thousand tons of ozone-destroying emissions and greenhouse gases.
- Save landfill space and take material out of the waste stream by recycling the metal, glass, and plastic parts of the appliances.
Are there any laws regulating appliance recycling?
When household appliances are taken out of service, federal law requires that all refrigerants, used oil, and other chemicals be properly managed and stored. Your state and municipality may have additional requirements that you should be aware of. At this time, no federal or state laws require that appliance foam be recovered.
Is it better to have my old appliance repaired?
If you have an appliance that’s still in good shape, but just isn’t working properly, it may be worth it to get it repaired instead of replaced. Sometimes repairing an appliance is the more environmentally-friendly option.
How can I make sure my old appliance is properly recycled?
If you have a refrigerated appliance that you’re ready to get rid of, you have a few options:
- Contact your municipality: Many towns and cities have curbside pick-up programs for residents. They typically sell the old appliances to recyclers, scrap metal companies, or other third parties, providing a revenue stream for your town.
- Ask Your Local Appliance Retailer: If you’re purchasing a new appliance, ask your salesperson if the store will take away your old unit. For example, Reno’s Appliance will deliver your new appliance and haul away your old one and dispose of it in an environmentally responsible way at no charge. Reno’s also has a robust recycling program for the styrofoam and cardboard their appliances are packaged in.
- Call an Appliance Recycling Center: Your local appliance recycling center might offer you a bit of cash for your old appliances. Plus, you know that they’ll take the proper steps to ensure all hazardous materials are dealt with responsibly. You could also sell your old appliances to a scrap metal yard, but there’s less assurance that the harmful components will be disposed of properly. You’re better off finding an appliance recycling center near you.
If disposing an old, inefficient appliance is on your list of Earth Day activities, then make sure you stop by Reno’s showroom in Paterson, NJ. Ask our friendly sales experts about appliance disposal and while you’re there, be sure to view our wide selection of Energy Star® rated refrigerators, dishwashers, freezers, washers, and dryers from world-class brands. By purchasing an Energy Star appliance, you know you’ll get high-quality performance while doing what’s right for the planet.