When we’re busy, it’s easy to overlook the environmental consequences of our everyday actions, and we often discard items without considering their long-term impact. One such commonly-overlooked area is the disposal of old appliances. When your trusty refrigerator, washer or microwave has finally failed, did you know that you can’t just drop it off at the landfill? So why can’t you throw out an old appliance? Let’s explore the answer and look at some sustainable alternatives for their disposal.
3 Reasons You Can’t Just Throw Out an Old Appliance
- Environmental impact. Many appliances contain materials that can be harmful to the environment. Components such as batteries, refrigerants, mercury switches or electronic circuit boards can have hazardous substances that, if they end up in the landfill, can contaminate the soil, water and air.
- Resource conservation. Appliances often contain valuable resources like metals, plastics and electronic components that can be recycled and reused. With proper disposal, these material can be extracted and utilized in the manufacturing of new products. This helps reduce the demand for raw materials and conserves resources.
- Legal requirements. Many states and regions have laws and regulations governing the disposal of electronic waste (e-waste) and contaminants. These legal requirements are in place to prevent improper disposal and to promote responsible recycling practices. Violations can lead to fines or penalties.
What’s in an Appliance or Electronic Device That Can be Harmful?
The components and chemicals within appliances varies between the types of appliances, and with their age. Some of the most common examples of their hazardous or dangerous materials include:
- Refrigerants such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) that can lead to ozone depletion if released into the air.
- Rechargeable or non-rechargeable batteries that can contain lead, cadmium, mercury or lithium.
- Cathode ray tubes (CRTs), found in older televisions and computer monitors, which have a high lead concentration. Some may also contain arsenic.
- Printed circuit boards (PCBs) found in computers, printers or smartphones that can contain lead, mercury, cadmium and brominated flame retardants.
- Capacitators with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that include cancer-causing properties.
- Asbestos, found in some heating systems’ insulation or components.
- Mercury switches found in thermostats or fluorescent lighting.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a type of plastic often used in electronic cables, wires and casings.
Related: EPA Report on Responsible Appliance Disposal
4 Great Ways to Get Rid of Your Unwanted Appliances
- Your municipality may have a recycling program specially designed for appliances. These programs ensure that your appliances are properly dismantled and their components are recycled or disposed of in an environmentally-friendly manner.
- Use manufacturer or retail take-back programs. Look for incentives or discounts when purchasing a new appliance if you return your old one for recycling or proper disposal.
- If your old appliance still works, consider donating it to one your local charitable organizations that accepts appliances. This way it can be used by someone else.
- Hire a junk removal service. An appliance removal service like 123JUNK trains its crew on the correct methods to remove and recycle your old appliances. And they can pick up and transport them to a local charity if you wish to donate them (you’ll get a receipt for tax deduction).
It’s clear we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the environmental consequences of throwing out an old appliance. Dumping it in a landfill would be not only wasteful, but would pose risks to our ecosystems and health. By taking a responsible approach, every one of us can make a positive impact. After all, the choices we make today will shape the world we live in now and pass on to our future generations.
Schedule Your Appliance Removal with 123JUNK
123JUNK provides junk hauling services to home and business owners throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland or Washington DC.
When you schedule a pickup appointment for your old appliances and electronics, 123JUNK will arrive at your location and safely and efficiently remove them, ensuring minimal disruptions. We’re committed to environmentally-friendly practices with our 1-2-3 Process of Donate-Recycle-Dispose, and work to maximize the reuse of items we collect. For appliances and electronics in good condition, we’ll drop them off with one of our charity partners. Otherwise, we’ll deliver them to the appropriate recycling center.
You’ll enjoy our transparent pricing and our upfront cost estimate that eliminates surprises. And we guarantee you’ll be pleased with our courteous and professional service.