You might think that your first step to a more environmentally responsible household is to purchase a new and more energy-efficient refrigerator, dishwasher, room air conditioner, washer and dryer or other appliance. In actuality, your first step will likely be figuring out how to responsibly rid yourself of your old, energy inefficient appliance.
You want to avoid landfill disposal, if at all possible. In fact, many appliances can’t legally be disposed of in this way because of refrigerant, mercury and other components that can pose a hazard to the environment.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to landfill disposal or other mistakenly unsafe or irresponsible ways of making room for that new appliance. Here are several:
- Sell it – If your older appliance still works, a free ad on Craigslist or a post on Facebook or other social media can draw attention to its availability. One advantage in addition to perhaps making a little pocket money on the transaction, is that you might require the buyer to pick it up, leaving you less to worry about.
- Donate it – Charitable organizations such as Goodwill, Salvation Army and many others might love to receive your working appliance for resale to those in need. Some donation centers will even pick up your appliance, but call ahead to make sure. Or read donation guidelines posted on their websites. You might even receive a charitable tax credit for making the donation - just check with your tax adviser first.
- Have it hauled away – One of the first questions you might ask at the retailer where you’re buying your new appliance is if they will pick up and responsibly dispose of the old one. Some product manufacturers will also offer this service. Do your homework first though, so you know before the delivery of the new product that you have an exit strategy for the one you are replacing.
- Recycle it – Make the search engine request “How to dispose of old appliances in (your city).” In some cases, you might find local government departments responsible for appliance recycling or safe disposal. You should be able to at least get answers. In some cases, you might even receive a rebate through local energy efficiency programs.
- Scrap and sell it in pieces – With this strategy, you take the old appliance apart and salvage parts that can be sold for reuse and then responsibly and legally dispose of environmentally unsafe components. This is probably only a direction you might want to take if you have time and mechanical know-how and if you know where to find parts buyers.