Welcome back to “Lighten Up! Tips for Letting Go in 2024.” Today we will be talking about old appliances. These aren’t typically items we need to purge very often (at least, hopefully not!), but when the time comes, we may feel perplexed as to how to get rid of them. Ideally, when we buy a new appliance, the vendor will take the old one when delivering the new. However, sometimes we end up with an appliance we don’t need jamming up our space.
Depending on your situation, you may have any number of appliances, such as a:
- Dorm fridge
- Window AC unit
- Beverage fridge
- Free standing freezer
- Washing machine/dryer
The first question with old appliances is whether or not they work.
If you have an appliance that is in working order, with no frayed cords or other functional issues, the best option is to donate it. If the item is small and you can lift it, your local charity is a great place to start (e.g., Salvation Army, Goodwill, Vietnam Veterans). Some of these charities will even pick up.
Of course, large appliances can’t be tossed into your trunk and dropped off, so in these cases, it is best to find someone to come to your home and remove it.
One charity I frequently recommend is Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. You may know Habitat for Humanity as an organization that helps build houses for those in need, and this is certainly true. They also operate ReStore, which Habitat’s website describes as “home improvement stores that accept small and large donations of new or gently used furniture, appliances, housewares, building materials and more. Proceeds from the sales of these items help Habitat’s work in your community and around the world.” Each ReStore is unique, so find your closest one and see if that location is interested in your item.
If you are in Fairfield County, CT, another option is to reach out to NAPO-CT member Things Matter. This organization describes itself this way: “As a nonprofit, we establish a cycle of giving that allows environmentally conscious donations to provide a sustainable future for our donors, employees, and mission-driven organizations.”
If your appliance is old, leaking, inefficient, or not worth donating, the goal is to find a place to properly dispose of it.
Anything with a cord (e.g., microwave, blender, slow cooker, etc.) is considered “e-waste,” and should be taken to your local electronics recycling. (See Day 10 for more information).
Anything with refrigerant (e.g., refrigerators, freezers, dehumidifiers, air conditioners, etc.)will require special handling, as the Freon needs to be drained from the appliance. Check with your local municipality for its recommendation. It is common to pay an extra fee for this draining process. As an example, the Darien, CT transfer station charges $15. Sometimes you will need to pay this fee in advance, and sometimes you can pay at the time of service. For this same reason, if you have junk haulers pick up one of these appliances, they will pass along this extra fee.
Another resource you have available to you is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program. This is a program in which the EPA supports partners who are committed to collecting and disposing of old refrigerated appliances using best environmental practices and going beyond what is required by federal law. Most RAD Partner programs will pick up your old fridge, freezer, window air-conditioning unit, or dehumidifier directly from your home. In some cases, they might even offer a financial incentive such as a reward or rebate for turning in your old units. You can use the RAD Partner Locator to see if there is a partner near you.
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One way of caring for our planet is by safely disposing of old appliances. These little efforts can benefit us all.
Do you have an old appliance in your home?