How to Safely Dispose Your Old Refrigerator

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How to Safely Dispose Your Old Refrigerator
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How to Safely Dispose Your Old Refrigerator

While there are many different ways to decorate, appoint, and outfit a house, there are a few appliances that are common to nearly every home, including a refrigerator. But while a refrigerator that is in good working condition can be a focal point and essential part of any kitchen, once that refrigerator goes out of commission, it is a different story. Whether it has become old, outdated, no longer matches the rest of the kitchen or a homeowner simply wants to upgrade to a newer and better model, there will come a time when a refrigerator must be removed. Unfortunately, getting rid of an old refrigerator is not quite as easy as tossing it in the local dump or putting it by the curb. However, there are still many ways to safely and efficiently dispose of an old refrigerator so that a new one can be brought in from a retail store, a neighbor, or even online from eBay.


Old Refrigerators Pose a Hazard

Many people have come to take for granted the fact that most household items can be easily and safely disposed of. This is not the case for used refrigerators. There are a number of reasons that a refrigerator poses a hazard to the health and safety of the environment and the community.

Chemical Components

In order to keep contents cool, refrigerators use a refrigerant. For those appliances that were manufactured before 1995, this refrigerant contains chlorofluorocarbon, or CFC. These chemical compounds are quite dangerous to the environment, particularly the earth’s atmosphere. This is why any old refrigerator containing these chemicals must only be disposed of by trained professionals. In addition to CFCs, depending on the model, refrigerators may also contain oil, mercury, or other toxic chemicals. Regardless of when a refrigerator was manufactured, care should be taken when disposing of it in order to protect the environment.

Human Danger

In addition to environmental toxins, improperly disposed of refrigerators can also present a hazard to people. Often this is because children find abandoned refrigerators as an enticing place to hide. While newer models have magnetic door mechanisms that can be opened from the inside, older refrigerators do not. This means a child can become trapped inside and be in danger of suffocation. This is another very compelling reason to dispose of refrigerators responsibly.


Schedule a Pick Up

Because a refrigerator can be an extremely heavy and unwieldy appliance, the easiest way to dispose of one is to have a professional service come and collect it. There are a number of different services to which one can reach out when seeking a way to dispose of an old refrigerator.

Contact the Power Company

There are many reasons to replace an old refrigerator, from aesthetic reasons to space concerns. But one reason that many people trade in an older model is because refrigerators are becoming more and more energy efficient. Old refrigerators can simply cost far more to keep running than newer, more energy efficient designs. Many local power companies support the idea of less energy being consumed by these appliances, and so they offer trade in and recycling programs. If you are upgrading to a refrigerator which requires less energy than your old one, the power company may not only pick up the old appliance, but also give you a rebate in the form of a check or a credit toward your next energy bill.

Check with Appliance Stores

Some retail stores where refrigerators are sold also offer recycling programs. For those who buy a new refrigerator at one of these stores, the same truck that delivers the new appliance will often be able to pick up the old one as well. Be sure to check on any available programs like this when buying a new refrigerator, since this convenience may help to choose where to buy that new fridge.

Donate to Charity

Some refrigerators may not need to be taken to a dump or even recycled. Refrigerators that are in good working order may be candidates for donation. Not only is this a way to give back to the community, but in many instances it will also be possible to receive a tax deduction. You can contact a local charity such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill and determine if your refrigerator is eligible for donation. These charities will usually arrange a pick up as well so that you do not have to worry about transporting the refrigerator to a donation center. This way, a refrigerator that no longer suits your needs can be a useful and affordable addition to another family’s home.

Waste Management

Not all municipalities will have an energy rebate program for new refrigerator purchases, but there is still usually a way to have an old refrigerator carted away by the city. In the case of a refrigerator that is no longer in working order, outright disposal may be the best choice. Waste management or a similar public works body will most likely be able to take an old refrigerator to the dump and dispose of it properly. Usually this will require a scheduled pick up rather than merely leaving an old refrigerator out with other trash items. This is because the hazardous components must be dealt with separately before the refrigerator can be taken to the dump. In some cases, a small fee may be required, but in other cities, this service will be free. Check online for your city’s local trash service and find out what type of program they offer.


Sell It

Of course, it is not necessary to give away a refrigerator that is in good working order. There are always people moving to new cities, new apartments, or new homes that are in need of a refrigerator, and who are more than willing to buy one used. Selling an old refrigerator is a perfectly acceptable way to dispose of it safely.

Online Classifieds

Online classified ads that are targeted to geographic areas are a great way to sell appliances like refrigerators. Look for sites that also list apartments or homes because they will already have traffic from people who are moving. Be sure to set a reasonable price for the refrigerator and give an accurate description with pictures if possible. Also you should be clear on whether or not the purchaser will need to arrange their own transportation for the refrigerator or if you are willing to deliver it.

Garage Sale

Garage sales can be another good way to unload a working refrigerator. Neighbors will have no trouble transporting a fridge a few blocks, and it is usually possible to get cash immediately. A good garage sale also fosters a sense of community in any neighborhood, which is certainly a plus.

Scrap Metal

For refrigerators that are no longer in good working order, it may be possible to make a few dollars by selling them to a scrap metal yard. However, it is not always so easy to find a scrap metal specialist who is willing to take refrigerators. Because of the hazardous refrigerants, it is important to find someone who is EPA certified to handle the disposal of the dangerous materials and protect the environment from unnecessary exposure.


How to Buy a Refrigerator on eBay

Before getting rid of your old refrigerator, it is a good idea to have a new one in place. The fact is that modern families are not at all used to getting by without the perishable foods that a refrigerator protects. There are a number of places to buy a new refrigerator, whether it is brand new or simply a new addition to your house; one of those places is eBay.

In order to find a refrigerator on eBay, you can easily type "refrigerator" into the search box on the homepage. To narrow down results, you may want to append that with a name brand, a color, or a size. From there, you can browse the available appliances that are currently for sale on eBay.

Because refrigerators are large and heavy appliances, it is important to keep transportation and delivery in mind when choosing one. On eBay, it is recommended that you search for sellers who are located in your geographic area. Be sure to ask the seller whether they are willing to deliver the refrigerator. If not, you will want to make sure that you have a method of transportation in mind before committing to the purchase. After all, no matter how good a deal you can get on eBay, a refrigerator that cannot get to your door will not do you much good.


Conclusion

Even though it is an appliance that most people do not think about on a day to day basis, the refrigerator has become an essential part of almost every home. When a refrigerator begins to fail, it can be stressful enough to find an affordable new replacement that looks beautiful in your home. Properly disposing of your old refrigerator should not be an additional hassle. However, due to the components that make up a refrigerator, there are special considerations that must be made in order to properly dispose of one. Improperly handled refrigerators can pose a threat to the community and to the entire environment. Working units, of course, can usually be sold or donated easily to another home or family. Broken or old refrigerators can be a bit more difficult. But with just a little consideration, it is easy to see that there are many agencies that can efficiently, effectively, and safely dispose of an old refrigerator.

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