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Appliance Recycling Guide & Tips

Whether you’re a homeowner, property manager, or business owner, you could be stuck with an old or out-of-date appliance that you need to get rid of quickly. Bigger appliances are often very heavy and hard to maneuver, and finding the right methods for appliance recycling is key to ensure both your safety and environmental sustainability. Improper appliance disposal cInfographic - How to Dispose of Your Old Appliancesauses environmental damage, especially if the appliances contain materials such as metal, glass, plastic, electronic components, and harmful chemicals that can be released into the air and soil. 

Since safe, environmentally friendly appliance removal isn’t always easy, we’ve put together a guide for how, where, and why to recycle or get rid of your out-of-service appliances.



Which Appliances Can Be Recycled?

So which appliances can you recycle? While specific methods for recycling vary, most residential or commercial appliances are able to be recycled. Note that when we say appliance recycling we don’t mean placing these items in your curbside bin, but refer to recycling via local programs, recycling centers, utility companies, or other professional recycling services. This is because curbside trash collection and recycling programs aren’t designed to dispose of electronics or other appliances in an environmentally friendly way. It’s imperative you leave out any appliances from your curbside bins! Below is a quick checklist of primary items you can recycle using a number of appliance removal services listed later in this article.

What You Can Recycle:

  • Microwaves
  • Toasters
  • Washing and Drying Machines
  • Water Heaters
  • Fans
  • Blenders
  • Space Heaters
  • Air Conditioners
  • Dishwashers
  • Ovens
  • Refrigerators
  • Toaster Ovens


Why Recycle Old Appliances?

In addition to being a cleaner option for the environment, appliance recycling could also save you money and help out someone else in need. If you purchased your appliance new, for example, the retailer or manufacturing company could buy back your used appliance. And donations to nonprofits often provide tax write-offs for anything you donate. On the flipside, dumping appliances off at landfills can cost you a disposal fee in addition to the hassle of transportation.

Did you know that on average only about 5% of disposed appliances get recycled each year? This means that over 1.5 million tons of metal, glass, and other hazardous materials end up in landfills. Proper disposal of appliances prevents emissions of ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and keeps mercury and used oils from seeping into the ground. Recycling also saves landfill space, allows for re-use of valuable materials, and reduces overall energy consumption. While recycling heavier appliances might seem like a chore, often it’s just as straightforward and hassle-free as any other method if you work with the right professionals.


How to Prepare an Appliance for Recycling

Before recycling your appliance, there are a few basic steps to ensure the process runs smoothly. For starters, make sure it’s been completely emptied out of any stored items (especially for refrigerators).

  • Step One – Unplug! For larger appliances that are running continually, such as refrigerators, water heaters, and cooling units, be sure to unplug the unit a few days before disposal to give them time to cool.
  • Step Two – Secure or tie the power cord to the unit so it’s not dangling as a potential tripping hazard. It’s also a good idea to tape shut any doors that could swing open. A little heavy tape or a twist tie should do the trick.
  • Step Three – If you’re donating or selling your appliance, it’s a good idea to clean out the interior (if applicable) and exterior of any extraneous dirt or grime.
  • Step Four – Remove and transport separately any breakable shelves or fragile, loose parts that may rattle around and get damaged in transit. Another option is to use tape to ensure they’re properly secured.


Is Appliance Recycling Required by Law?

In some states, recycling appliances is required by law and failure to comply can result in certain penalties. Many local governments may also have more particular guidelines for proper, environmentally friendly appliance disposal.

Here’s a reference list, according to the Electronics Recycling Coordination Clearing House (ERCC), of states with required appliance recycling or a mandated landfill ban of certain materials:

States Include – California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.


Appliance Removal and Recycling Options

When it comes time to recycle, trash, or otherwise dispose of your old appliances there are several options available. Which one you choose will depend on the appliance’s condition, size, and your location. From an old toaster to an industrial water heater, knowing how to safely dispose of your appliance in an environmentally friendly way can be tricky. We’ve put together a more detailed breakdown of common appliance removal and recycling options below.

Sell the Appliance

If your appliance still works, or only needs a minor repair, consider selling it through an online marketplace, at a yard sale, or even to a family friend. You can also find local used appliance businesses or scrap metal dealers and contact them to see if they’d be interested in purchasing your used appliance (and they may also pick it up for you).

Appliance Manufacturers

Some appliance manufacturers will take back used or damaged appliances for free if you purchased them new or used under certain conditions. Try calling the store where you bought the appliance or the manufacturing company directly. Major chain stores also pick up used appliances, though they may charge a small fee.

Utility Companies

Check with your local utility company about appliance removal or appliance recycling services. Options will vary but are available in most states, and may even include a refund or waiver.

Local Recycling Programs

City recycling programs and other local recycling centers are another great way to dispose of your appliances. You won’t be able to have your old appliance picked up during your regular curbside recycling, though some local recycling programs may be able to pick up larger appliances from your home — just check their website or call to check. To find nearby recycling centers or programs, a quick Google search for terms like “appliance recycling near me” or “appliance disposal near me” can connect you with what you need.

Charity Donations

Places such as Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity and other organizations often accept used, working appliances as charity donations for a tax write-off, depending on the condition and size of the appliance. Depending on the organization, they may also come directly to your home or business to pick up the used items.

Appliance Removal Services

When it comes down to it, appliance removal can be a pain. If you don’t have a large vehicle to transport your appliance for disposal, or are having difficulty getting local programs or companies to pick it up, consider hiring a professional junk removal service provider.

At TurboHaul, we have a simple, four-step process for responsible appliance recycling and bulk junk disposal. Our process includes:

TurboHaul's 4-step Simple Bulk Trash Removal Process


TurboHaul recycles more than any of our local competitors. We provide easy, thorough services for anyone living in the North Carolina; Virginia; Washington, DC; or Maryland areas. We’re committed to bettering the environment, improving local communities, and keeping old appliances and other hazardous items out of landfills. Contact us today for a free quote or to book an appointment.

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