Like many people, I decided to trade in my old refrigerator for a swanky new one when I bagged myself a deal on Black Friday. I was looking for a refrigerator that was energy efficient, had a larger capacity and upgraded technology. Once I found my dream appliance in the best Black Friday deals, I was ready to welcome the new addition to my kitchen.
However, I didn’t want to simply junk my old refrigerator into a landfill. In the U.S., around half of our municipal solid waste goes into landfill every year. That’s around 146 million tons, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Sending a refrigerator to landfill has a huge impact on the environment, as it contains chemicals that release heat, contributing to the climate crisis and ozone depletion.
We spoke to Brian Johnson, Appliance expert at MyJobQuote, to find out more. “In the UK, fridges and fridge-freezers are classified as WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment),” says Brian. “They contain mercury waste, polyvinyl chloride, and polyurethane, all of which are hazardous to health. As a result, they must be disposed of in a safe manner and in accordance with the law.”
In the end, I decided to give away my old fridge, which was in perfect working order, on a local community site that focuses on reusing, recycling and donations as a way to reduce waste. But there are many other ways to responsibly dispose of your old refrigerator, ensuring that you’re not posing a risk to the environment or contributing to the landfill problem. Here are just a few ways you can safely do it and even help someone else out in the process.
Brian Johnson has worked as an appliance expert for MyJobQuote for four years and has worked in the industry for over twenty-five years. Brian continues to work for clients, providing appliance diagnostics and repairs, while also providing expert advice to industry professionals and homeowners. His expert tips have been featured in a range of reputable publications over the years.
What you can do with your old refrigerator
- Donate or sell your old appliance
- Find a responsible recycling program in your area
- Use a retailer take-back or trade-in program
- Use a local metal recycler
- Contact local waste management services
- Ask your friends
- Repurpose your old fridge
1. Donate or sell your old appliance
If your refrigerator still works and is in fairly good condition, someone will likely take it off your hands. There are hundreds of sites where you can swap or sell household appliances you no longer need. You can use a classifieds site, auction website or even advertise it locally. Many local areas have buy/sell/trade groups where you can post your refrigerator for sale. Or you can contact a local appliance resale shop to see if they’ll give you a fair price for your old appliance or sell it for you and give you a fixed percentage of the sale.
If you prefer to donate, look around for charitable organizations that can collect your refrigerator and pass it on to someone in need. Or donate it to a local shelter or offer it for free online. If you donate to a charitable organization this is often tax deductible too.
2. Find a responsible recycling program in your area
If your refrigerator has seen better days, or you would prefer to have it recycled, look out for a local recycling service that offers pickup or drop-off locations. You could consider the EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal program (RAD). RAD is a voluntary program that works with local government agencies and retailers to dispose of old fridges safely, and they work across the U.S. They will usually pick up your old appliance, and some will even offer a reward or rebate for turning in your old unit!
There are also lots of other local services that provide services in picking up and safely disposing of your old refrigerator. Check with your local energy utility company or see if your municipality will pick up your fridge for recycling.
3. Use a retailer take-back or trade-in program
These days many retailers take part in take-back or trade-in programs where they will haul away and recycle your old appliance if you buy a new one with them. Check with your chosen retailer to see if they offer this service.
4. Use a local metal recycler
A local metal recycler may also take in old and unwanted appliances, and they may even pay you for the value of the metal in your old fridge. However, you may not be sure that they are safely recycling it.
5. Contact local waste management services
Depending on where you live, your local sanitation department may offer a curbside pickup for bulky appliances such as refrigerators and take them away for recycling. Some departments may charge a small fee for the service, though.
6. Ask your friends
You never know who could do with an extra refrigerator in their basement, cabin or garage. Simply putting a few feelers out in your social groups could find your fridge a brand new home and solve two problems at once!
7. Repurpose your old fridge
Think outside the box, literally! There are hundreds of ways you could transform that old fridge into something new and purposeful How about a raised bed in the garden for planting vegetables, a bookshelf or an outside drinks cooler?
You wouldn't believe what some people have turned their fridges into, from couches and beds to BBQ grills and desks. Just remember to remove all the plastic components from the inside, remove any wiring and give it a good clean inside and out beforehand.
Now you’ve got an idea of what to do with your old fridge, why not take a look at some of the best French door refrigerators available in 2023?