What to do with old appliances - donation and disposal options

What to do With Unwanted Appliances

men carrying stove out of building
Amy Eckert / Getty Images

Appliance clutter can become unmanageable and though it might be interesting (even fun) to have such a variety at your disposal, it can become too much for anyone. And when you're faced with clearing the clutter, it can seem overwhelming.

Planning on moving soon or transitioning to a smaller abode? It's definitely time to reevaluate your appliance stock and needs, and take steps to reduce the clutter to make your home safer, easier to clean and maintain.

Take advantage of promotions:

If you're upgrading and buying a large appliance, it's quite common for the dealer to agree to remove the old one when delivering the new item. Sometimes, they charge a nominal fee, especially when it comes to refrigerators which must be serviced and prepared properly for disposal. This type of removal is the best strategy when upgrading any large appliance. Let them deal with removal and disposal of the old one.

You can also check with your local utility to see if they have a removal service for older energy-guzzling appliances, which will also save you the hassle. It's amazing how handy this service is and your refrigerator or freezer does not usually need to be very old to qualify for this promotion.

Priority disposal:

Start with these appliances to make the task more manageable. You have several options when it comes to unwanted appliances, but the first ones you must eliminate from your stock are the following:

  • Those that have been recalled (if known) for whatever reason
  • That have a noticeable hazard, such as broken seals, frayed cord, smelly or smoky operation
  • Are known to longer be up to safety codes  
  • Appliances that you know no longer work

These appliances cannot be sold, bartered or donated since they have zero value.

Your only recourse is disposal. Check with your local landfill for special recycling requirements. With these out of the way, you can continue assessing the rest of your appliances.

Your donation or disposal options:

Maybe you've received duplicates as gifts and these have never been used, so still in new condition. Still in their original packages with product manuals is a bonus. You may have some appliances that have been gently used and the need or novelty has worn off. Or maybe you are moving or downsizing and cutting your overall clutter and storage area. These are used but still workable, hence still have value.

These appliances can be sold or recycled and are very much in demand. You could have a garage or yard sale. If this is your intention, clean them up and store them together. Pricing them ahead of the event will also save time that morning.

As for price, consider what you would pay for the item if you were doing the shopping. Don't expect to get near the full value or even close to half price for an appliance, even if it has never been used. We're talking yard sale pricing here. Bargain basement, so to speak. Keep it reasonable, if you want to get rid of them. Have an electrical outlet handy, so purchasers can try them out before buying.

If having a yard or garage sale is not your cup of tea, many non-profit groups, church or community thrift stores, and trash-to-treasure start-ups, will be happy to take them for free. Many companies will pick them up, saving you that hassle. Check your community for local outlets.

The Diabetes Association of both the US and Canada, have local collection depots or drop boxes for clothing, household goods and more. These items are resold in retail centers to benefit their research. It's a worthwhile endeavor to support. In Canada, Value Village is a popular reseller of their donated goods. Finding affordable clothing, appliances, and household goods benefits everyone.

Some centers operate with proceeds going to cancer research or another worthwhile cause, so donating unwanted appliances to these centers is important.

There are also centers that accept appliances to recycle them for use by needy families. Before recycling appliances, check out these recycling guides and tips provided to ensure a safe reconditioned appliance for the new owner.

If removing an appliance is your concern, there are organizations and service entities that pick up used appliances to save you the bother and then recycle them at their discretion. This service benefits you by removing the old so you can bring in a new appliance and eliminates disposal fees you might otherwise have to pay at your community landfill.

Disposing of an old air conditioner:

Air conditioners regardless of type, all contain some form of cooling refrigerant. As there are federal or state/province regulations as to the disposal of these types of appliances, before you dispose of it in a landfill, recycle or trash bin, call your local sanitation department to find out if it needs to be prepared before it can be discarded.

It may just need to be taken to a certain disposal area, or it may require a qualified technician to remove the coolant, similar to what is done with the disposal of refrigerators and freezers. When buying a replacement air conditioner, check with the retailer to see if they'll take and dispose of your old model for you.

There are also companies that recycle (at their discretion) any item with metal and are willing to pick it up, plus give you a nominal fee for the scrap. These are certainly worth checking out. Vehicles are probably their more popular items picked up, but they may also take appliances.

The progressive listing below is provided as a service and handy resource to readers and I make no representation regarding any of these centers.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores - Find a ReStore in the US and Canada.

Appliance 411 Recycling Tips

Appliance Recycling - Find it at Local.com

ARCA Appliance Recycling Centers of America, Inc.

California Recycling Guide & Tips

City of Fort Collins Recycling Depots & Information

GE Appliances listing of Appliance Donation Centers

1-800-Got-Junk? Junk Removal

Kingwood Green Donation Guide

Junk Removal: Thumbtack

Materials Matter

Morris Habitat for Humanity

Scrap Cars Canada (Toronto, Southern Ontario)

SLO County IWMA Thrift Shops & 2nd Hand Stores

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