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Recycle Used Appliances - What To Do With Old Appliances

Updated on November 24, 2016
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Cynthia is a writer, artist, and teacher. She loves studying language, arts and culture and sharing that knowledge.

Recycling used appliances such as cell phones will help keep harmful chemicals and metals out of soil and groundwater.
Recycling used appliances such as cell phones will help keep harmful chemicals and metals out of soil and groundwater. | Source

The other day, a friend and I were talking about how she had a storage shed full of stuff she no longer used, but wasn't quite sure how to get rid of it all. She listed off things like old computers, cans of paint, and even old cleaners in aerosol cans. Then I started thinking about the fact that I have old cell phones, old land-line phones, old computer towers and even old CDs that I don't listen to thanks to the plethora of music available online. Every year, this stuff seems to replicate like rabbits, too.

What to do with it all?

I made some phone calls, looked at some websites, and found that getting rid of stuff can be surprisingly easy if you know what to do.

One bonus that I learned is that a lot of places will pay you for your used stuff. You always have the option to donate, but you also can make a few bucks either by sending stuff to one of the websites I mention or by physically taking your things to some of the locations I mention in this hub.

Do you throw away your batteries? Be honest...

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Recycling Idea

Get a plastic (preferably one that you would have thrown out) container with a cover. Label it "batteries". Throw old batteries in there until it gets full and then take it to a recycling center. Don't forget to keep it out of reach of children.

Some Hazardous Materials

When it comes to household waste, a surprising amount of it is recyclable. I found out you can even recycle crayons!

Some other materials that I found out I can recycle:

  • lightbulbs (all types)
  • old chemistry sets
  • antifreeze
  • aerosol cans
  • insecticides
  • herbicides
  • nail polish
  • batteries
  • just about any kind of appliance there is

Source

Useful Websites

If you are not sure where to look or where to start, I've compiled a list of helpful websites.

The first site, Earth911.com is an incredible source of information. All you do is go to the website and enter whatever product you'd like to recycle. Then enter your zipcode. Within seconds, the site will list off all recycling facilities in your area that take that particular item. Not only that, it has many other features and articles about everything from the latest green technology to organic soup recipes.

CowBoom.com is another great site. You can sell your gently used electronics on this platform, but also get incredible deals on new or pre-owned products. I'm not in the market yet for a new laptop, but I'm going to this site for my MacBook Air.

Gazelle.com - Recycle and get cash for your electronics on this site. One caveat: they like newer stuff. I have one of those dumbphones that is about 18 months old. It's got normal wear and tear. They'll give me about $3.00 for it. So, basically that will pay for shipping to the site. Oh well. I'm trying to keep it out of landfills and that's what really matters.

Obviously.com/recycle is a site that explains in detail how to reduce, reuse and recycle common products. It also gives hints on reducing junk mail. They also have a link for the 4th "R" - repair. So, you can reduce, reuse, recycle, and repair.

Recellular.com deals with used mobile phones and other electronics. You can donate your old phone, purchase a refurbished phone, and they will even help you to create a charity recycling program in your area. Wondering if your cell phone carrier will work with these sorts of phones? This company has a long history with Verizon, Motorola and even Apple.

Freecycle.org - people can get and give stuff for free on this site. Basically, you join a group (generally one around where you live) and you can post for free and look at other posts. I just listed "free packing peanuts" because I really want to keep those out of the landfill. They don't biodegrade and stay around for hundreds of years, the little buggers.

Craigslist.org - many people have heard of this site. But, have you really taken advantage of it? You can list everything from electronics to clothes and sell them or even get and receive for free. Not only that, if you don't think you can get rid of something in your area, you can go anywhere you want in the world that has a CL platform. There are forums for questions and other topics. This is a great resource for unloading stuff really quickly.

NPR.org - Yes, good old public radio. But, did you know you can donate an old car? If you have one of those sitting around - and a lot of people do - you can find your local station and donate a car. It's even tax-deductible!

E-waste: A Problem That We Can Change - and We Can Make Money At It - A Look at GARB

Did You Know?

Used iPhones have about $1.82 worth of gold inside? That adds up. If you get enough of them, you can make gold wedding rings.

Actual Places to Take Your Stuff

All the websites above can help locate places to take your stuff or you can send them in. But, I thought it would be helpful to also list places that will take your household waste - you know, just in case you're driving around with a can of used paint in the trunk.

  • Goodwill - it's not just for clothes and old furniture. You can take your electronics there, too. They often will be able to plug these items in and show customers that they're in good working order. Personally, I think this is an environmental gold mine. I mean, they employ people from all walks of life - including those that need a second chance - and they keep a lot of stuff out of the landfill. Furthermore, did you know they have an online auction site? While only Goodwill centers can list on this site, you can be a part of the green solution by finding those incredible deals Goodwill is known for and bid on thousands of items. When you donate to Goodwill, your stuff could very well end up on this auction site.
  • Staples - you can bring office products, ink cartridges, and rechargeable batteries and Staples will keep these out of the landfill by recycling them responsibly for you. This link will take you to the Staples recycling page.
  • Home Depot - If you buy new appliances and have them delivered to your house, you can request that they haul off your old appliances. They will dispose of them responsibly. They list all the FAQ's relating to this on their website. Thus, if you're in the market for a new stove and you live by yourself, this is a great option. Also, this link will take you to their "Eco-Options" site where you can find information about finding eco-friendly products at HD and even information about doing a Home Energy Audit. They also make it known that they will recycle used light bulbs, rechargeable batteries and other household items.
  • Circuit City (now TigerDirect) - This company has a great "Green Policy." Not only that, if your stuff is new enough, they'll even give you cash for your electronics. The link will take you to their page where you can appraise and then recycle your electronic gadgets. I was pleased, though, when I found out that if you take your item to them, they will NEVER let any product go to the landfill. They will refurbish it, reuse it, or otherwise recycle anything else that isn't reused.
  • Lowes - I like the fact that this company will also haul off old appliances when they deliver a new one. I have to say, though, that it was harder to find their Green Policy on their site and placed a phone call to their customer service department to find out this information. I also contacted their web-team so that they can hopefully highlight their green contributions and policies a little better to make it easier for consumers to recycle. But, they are striving to make a difference in the Green Revolution. They have contributed over $5 million to the Nature Conservancy to help prevent unnecessary deforestation. They also recycle CFC bulbs, cell phones, rechargeable batteries and plastic bags.
  • Radio Shack has a trade and save program. You bring in (or send in online) eligible, working electronics and they'll apply the credit to the next thing you purchase.
  • Household Hazardous Waste Facilities - many, many counties around the US have a hazardous waste facility. You can check your yellow pages or use Earth911.com to find a facility near you.
  • Landfill - Before I knew about these other options, I took my old refrigerator to the landfill. But this isn't a sad story. I found out that the landfill will properly dispose of your appliances for you. It's a good idea to call ahead and find out what their requirements are. This is a good option if you live in rural areas.

Getting a New Cell Phone?

People will replace around 130 million cell phones this year.

If they just throw them away, that will generate 65,000 tons of waste.

Inside, they each have hazardous materials that readily make their way into ground water and soil.

Things like lead, cadmium, and lithium are bad for human health. We can reduce the risk of exposure to these chemicals by recycling cell phones.

Other Ideas on Reducing, Reusing, Recycling

How to Recycle at Home - This hub offers some tips and tricks to keep waste low, reducing the need to recycle.

Recycling for Money - I mentioned above that lots of places accept used electronics for money. This hub goes into great juicy detail about maximizing that potential.

How to Live Green - How-to hub on incorporating more "Green" practices into your life.

50 Eco-friendly, Green Websites - A "green" consumers web-paradise. Links for everything green!


© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun

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    • susannah42 profile image

      susannah42 5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for the tips. I am a big believer in recycling.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      susanna42 - thanks for stopping by! I learned a lot while researching this article.

    • profile image

      JudyGoldhorpe 5 years ago

      Its great to recycle its too bad however, that recycling centers and dumps have been used for underground purposes. Just think of the stuff the criminals get access to. People who work at dumps and recycling centers well, they make a lot of money on the side - its the last place anyone would look so well covered. We would all be a lot safer, if everyone were aware of what really goes on behind closed door, that means if there were really more legitimate police than not.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Judy - alas, I suppose they're always a two-sided coin to any activity we do. But, thank you for pointing out the "other side." Of course, then you have those neat stories like the guy who became a millionaire scrounging for things at garage sales. I used to have a neighbor who frequently went dumpster diving. He found some amazing things - including many stuffed animals for my dog. Funny thing is now I can't let my dog see any kind of stuffed animal because he'll think it's a toy to shred. Oops. Oh well. :)

    • daisynicolas profile image

      daisynicolas 5 years ago from Alaska

      I'm guilty from time to time...err. most times. But I work on being conscientiously aware of recycling. It is good to know that you listed a lot of resources that can be found anywhere within our backyards.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      Hooray! That's my goal, daisynicolas. I'm not perfect, either. But, researching these hubs actually helps me to be a better "green" citizen. :) Thank you so much for stopping by.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I must confess that I usually just throw most of these in the trash. Thanks for pointing out more responsible options. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

      As "green" as I try to be, I actually learned a lot putting this together. I used to throw out batteries (gasp!) but now that I know what to do with them, I don't anymore. Thanks for the votes, alocsin. :)

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I have 2 old computers I have been wanting to get rid of, but didn't know what to do with them. I didn't want to just put them out with the trash. I went to the website earth911.com and found 3 different places here that I can take them to. Great information, voted up and useful! Have a great day and thank you! :)

    • mejohnson profile image

      mejohnson 4 years ago

      This hub is perfect. I need to get rid of my old tech too and thanks to this informative hub now I know how. Thanks. Voted up.

    • iefox5 profile image

      iefox5 4 years ago

      Great! I have a few old appliances. Maybe I should try your recommendations.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      sgbrown - hooray! I'm glad you were able to find some information you were looking for. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your feedback. :)

      mejohnson - awesome! I'm glad I could help shed some light on what you're supposed to do with old appliances. :)

      iefox5 - I'm glad you liked this! Thanks for stopping by. :)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Awesome resources. It's great that you compiled this list. I'm going to have to look into some of these things. Way to go, sis!

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      I need to follow this, too...I've got my bin of batteries that I need to take to the recycling center. :D Thanks, Vicki.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 4 years ago

      I had no idea that some of these stores had these recycling features. Thanks for sharing this. Voted up, useful, and shared! Blessings, Kelley

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Kelley - until I did the research for this, I also didn't know all the things you could recycle and where. It's a great thing to be able to know what to do with stuff. I think that's why so many things end up in storage and closets. :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Lots of handy tips here cc! You sure did your homework. We often accumulate 'things' then have no idea what to do with them but don't want to throw them away. This is a great hub for all of us!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      When did you write this one? Sheez I never know when hubs come out. Anyway, this is a great hub with some valuable information for those who really care about the environment. Nice job Sis!

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 4 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      Good trips on somethings i didn't know i could recycle. I do recycle cell phones, no point in them sitting around. Very useful hub.

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Tillsontitan - I sweat and beat my head over that homework! Hehe, just kidding. :D I'm glad I could help with figuring out what to do with some of that stuff. Even knowing what to do with it, I admit, it's still a chore dealing with it. Hehe.

      BB - Um, I have no idea, but it was awhile ago when I wrote this. :) I am so thrilled you stopped by...since you're flying right past Mexico and going to Belize. Haha. Thanks so much - really. I appreciate you more than you will ever know.

      Bridalletter - That's awesome! I'm only on my second-ever cell phone, and my old one has come in handy. But when and if I ever upgrade, I'll definitely take the old ones to be recycled. :)

    • jellygator profile image

      jellygator 4 years ago from USA

      I had no idea you could recycle regular batteries or old cell phones (well, non-working ones, anyway!)

      Nice info. Voted up and shared.

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 4 years ago

      What a great resource. Thank you for putting something so valueable in one easy to access article. Voted up and useful

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      Jellygator - I know, right? I was surprised to find out you can even recycle crayons, haha. Thanks for stopping by.

      Dee aka Nonna - Thank you for stopping by. :) I wanted to share this because I found it so helpful for when I had to recycle my own stuff. :)

    • bhargvi sharma profile image

      bhargvi sharma 4 years ago from jammu ( India)

      Awesome... Loved it... Voted up!!! :)

    • cclitgirl profile image
      Author

      Cynthia Calhoun 4 years ago from Western NC

      bhargvi sharma - thank you. :)

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