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How to Dispose of an Old Refrigerator

Refrigerators built before 1995 contain a refrigerant called chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), which is an ozone-depleting agent and a greenhouse gas. Models built after 1995 do not contain the ozone-depleting agent but still do contain a refrigerant that is a greenhouse gas. This means that following proper disposal procedures is crucial in getting rid of an old refrigerator.

  1. First: Contact the utility company

    Contact the local utility company, and ask about whether it offers pick-up of old refrigerators. Sometimes there are restrictions as to what it accepts, such as the size, age and whether or not it works. These are also factors that apply for the bounty programs. The utility company may charge a fee to pick up the old one, or it may provide the service at no cost. There are also what are known as bounty programs in which the company offers incentives to those who purchase new, energy-efficient models to replace older ones. These programs allow recyclers to gather and recycle old refrigerators.

  2. Second: Contact the department of public works

    Get in touch with the public works department where you live if the utility company cannot help with disposal. An appointment is often required to schedule pick up of old refrigerators. There is a fee charged for this occasionally, but not always. If the public works department states they cannot pick up a refrigerator that still contains the refrigerant, contact a properly trained technician who is using EPA-approved refrigerant recovery equipment to remove it.

  3. Third: Free haul away with purchase of new

    Many retailers, such as Best Buy, haul away old refrigerators when new ones are purchased from the company.

  4. Fourth: Cash for clunkers refrigerator program

    Some states offer cash for clunkers refrigerator programs, in the form of rebates, as incentives for consumers to purchase new, energy-efficient appliances. Although this program does not actually take the old refrigerators away, nor does it require that old refrigerators are no longer used, some local government programs pay to haul away old refrigerators.