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Recycle Used Appliances - What To Do With Old Appliances

Updated on January 12, 2018
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Cynthia is a digital marketer, writer, and artist. She writes about a variety of topics, especially digital marketing, languages & culture.

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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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

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.

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.

Legacy Obviously 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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