Disposing of old appliances can be a pain. Dragging the useless bulky appliance to the curb or driving it to the dump may be appealing, but disposing of it in an eco-friendly way is not only the right way to dispose of them, but it can also be the easier way too! Here are the steps you should take the next time your appliance goes on the fritz (and can’t be saved by ASAP!)
What Makes Appliances So Hazardous?
Refrigerant: Fridges that were made before 1995 generally include chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerant. Window air conditioners, along with dehumidifiers hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerant. Both CFC’s and HCFC’s are ozone-depleting substances that can destroy the ozone layer as well as release potent greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change. While most refrigerators and freezers made after 1995, and air conditioners/dehumidifiers made after 2010 have been made with ozone-friendly compounds, they still need to be carefully handled because of the greenhouse gases.
Foam: Fridges and freezers made before 2005 were insulated with a type of foam that contained ozone-depleting substances. Those made after 2005 have been made with another kind of insulation that is more environmentally friendly. When it comes to humidifiers and air conditioners, they do not contain this type of foam.
Hazardous Components: Appliances can also be full of old oil, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and mercury. Even some fridges and chest freezers made before 2000 have mercury-containing components! Appliances manufactured before 1979 were known to contain PCB capacitors. The United States Environmental Protection Agency states, “used oil from refrigerated appliances can result in the release of dissolved refrigerant and groundwater contamination. In addition, short-term exposure to used oil can cause skin, eye, and respiratory irritation; in the long-term, it can cause cancer and damage to the liver, brain, immune system, and reproductive system.”
What Should I Do With My Old Appliances Then?
For these reasons, home appliances should be recycled by companies that will safely remove these harmful elements before shredding and recycling. There are many places that will either come to your home or have handy drop off points. In Omaha, Nebraska there are a multitude of services you can utilize such as 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, or even a free service such as Omaha Hauling.
Not 100% sure what to do, or if your appliances can be salvaged? For more information, visit our website or call us at 402-252-4124 after-hours appointments are available!