How to Dispose of Refrigerators

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Because most trash services won't pick up a large appliance left at the curb, an old refrigerator may seem like a difficult thing to properly dispose of. Federal laws regarding the proper handling of old refrigerant and oils can make the task seem even more daunting. In truth, however, many municipalities make it easy to dispose of refrigerators so they can help ensure that the appliances are retired in a legal and environmentally friendly manner. Luckily there are several options and resources in place to help you through the disposal process.

Recycling Alternatives

  • Check with your utility company to see if it offers an appliance-recycling program and whether your refrigerator will qualify for any incentives offered by the company. Some utility companies may offer you cash or utility bill credits; others may simply offer pickup service free of charge.

  • Ask the local department of public works if there are any local programs or systems in place to help you with refrigerator disposal. You may be able to make an appointment to have your old appliance picked up and carted off for free or a nominal charge.

  • Contact local appliance retailers and ask if they have appliance-removal programs. Across the United States, Best Buy will remove an old fridge from a customer’s home when a new one is purchased and delivered through one of their stores. There is no fee for the service.

  • Find a local scrap metal recycler. Such services should be equipped to handle your old fridge in a manner that complies with federal regulations.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some recycling programs require that the refrigerant must be removed before pick up. In this case, contact a technician with certified recovery equipment.
  • Do not attempt to remove refrigerant or compressors yourself as it may result in personal and environmental harm. Per Environmental Protection Agency regulations, only properly trained individuals should attempt to remove refrigerant from appliances.

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