How to Recycle Your Old Appliances and Electronics

How to Recycle Your Old Appliances and Electronics

How to Recycle Your Old Appliances and Electronics

Why You Should Recycle Old Appliances and Electronics

Recycling your old appliances and electronics is important for several reasons:

  • Reduces waste in landfills: Many appliances and electronics contain materials that don’t biodegrade easily. Recycling them keeps these materials out of landfills.

  • Conserves natural resources: Recycling allows materials like metals, glass and plastics to be reused, reducing the need to extract new virgin resources.

  • Prevents pollution: Electronics can contain hazardous materials like lead and mercury. Properly recycling them keeps these toxins out of the environment.

  • Saves energy: Extracting and processing virgin materials is very energy-intensive. Reusing recycled materials greatly reduces energy consumption.

  • Creates jobs: The recycling industry employs over 1.1 million people in the United States alone. Recycling your old appliances helps support these green jobs.

How to Find Electronics and Appliance Recycling Locations

There are several ways to find appliance and electronics recycling locations near you:

  • Local government recycling program: Many cities and counties have special recycling programs for large items like appliances and electronics. Check your local government website or call the recycling coordinator.

  • Retailer take-back programs: Many retailers like Best Buy offer recycling for old appliances and electronics when you purchase a new item from them. Check with the retailer for details.

  • Manufacturer take-back programs: Companies like Dell and HP have take-back programs to recycle their old products. Visit the manufacturer’s website for specifics.

  • Third-party recyclers: Independent recycling centers like ecoATM and 1-800-Got-Junk specialize in recycling electronics and appliances. Search online for facilities in your area.

  • Special collection events: Your town may hold periodic collection events focused on electronics, appliances and large items. Watch for announcements from your local recycling agency.

How to Prepare Items for Recycling

Follow these tips to make sure your appliances and electronics are ready for recycling:

  • Remove any food or hazardous materials like cleaners or oils. Thoroughly empty and clean out refrigerators, ovens, etc.

  • Remove batteries from devices whenever possible. Batteries should be recycled separately.

  • Delete any sensitive personal information from devices like computers and phones. Perform a factory reset if applicable.

  • Pack fragile items carefully to avoid breakage during transport. Wrap cords neatly around electronics.

  • Clearly label any items you want to keep, like remotes or cables. Remove any items you wish to keep.

  • Obtain proof of recycling like a certificate or receipt from the recycling center. This helps document that items were recycled properly.

What Items Can and Can’t Be Recycled

Many electronics and appliances can be recycled, but some require special handling or can’t be recycled through regular programs.

Commonly recycled items include:

  • Computers, laptops, tablets, printers and peripherals

  • Monitors and televisions

  • Cell phones and mobile devices

  • Stereos, radios and musical equipment

  • Microwaves and small appliances like toasters

  • Washing machines, dryers and dishwashers

  • Refrigerators, freezers and AC units

Items requiring special handling include:

  • CRT (cathode ray tube) televisions and monitors

  • Appliances containing refrigerants like Freon

  • Light bulbs, which may require separate recycling

Items that generally can’t be recycled include:

  • Broken CRT glass

  • Hazardous materials

  • Radioactive smoke detectors

By properly recycling your old appliances and electronics, you can give them new life while keeping hazardous materials out of landfills. Use the resources above to find responsible recycling programs in your area.