Most recycling centers ask you to transport the fridge to their center.
Refrigerators are bulky appliances that pose environmental problems when it’s time for their disposal. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, older refrigerators may contain ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons or hydrochlorofluorocarbons and other dangerous chemicals. Despite that, the appliance still has valuable metals, glass and plastic that can be recycled. You can’t dismantle the non-working refrigerator on your own to separate the recyclable parts. Instead, take the fridge to a recycling center that can handle the job.
Finding a Recycler
Contact the city or county agency that handles trash collection in your area. Look for names like “Sanitary District, ” “Public Works” and “Waste Management.” Many communities have certain monthly dates when bulk items are picked up for recycling. Others require you to schedule an appointment; still others require you to bring the appliance in for recycling.
Call a recycling center if your municipal agency can’t help. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a nationwide Responsible Appliance Disposal program that can help you find a recycling agency.
Schedule your appointment. Record the date on your calendar, but also plan to set aside a few hours on the day before pickup. You’ll need that time to prepare the fridge for transit.
Preparing the Refrigerator
Prepare the refrigerator for safe transport on the day before the scheduled pickup by removing the doors. Look for the three or more bolts on top of the fridge that hold down a metal bar. The bar helps connect the door to the refrigerator body. Using the adjustable wrench, free the bar by removing the bolts while your assistant holds onto the door.
Unscrew the two or more screws that help connect the bottom of the door to the fridge, using a Phillips screwdriver. Place all the screws and bolts in the crisper drawer inside the fridge to keep them out of the way.
Remove any other doors in a similar fashion. Refrigerator styles differ: Some have a single door, some feature two parallel doors and others have one door on top of the other. Place the detached doors aside. Pull out the drawers, shelves and other accessories inside the refrigerator and set them aside.
Making a Safe Pick-up
Work with your assistant to place the refrigerator on the appliance dolly or handcart. Secure the appliance and carefully wheel it out to the designated pickup spot, which is usually the curb, or, if you’re transporting it yourself, your own truck or van. Take the fridge off the dolly or handcart and carefully place the appliance on its back.
Lay the doors on the ground beside the refrigerator. Place the shelving and drawers on the doors, including the drawer that holds the bolts and screws. These are recyclable, as well.
Await pickup, keeping a close eye on curious neighborhood children who might injure themselves playing in or around the fridge. Alternately, secure the fridge inside the truck bed or van with straps or rope, transport it safely to the recycling center and follow the attendant’s instructions. Check on possible fees in advance.
Things You Will Need
- Adjustable Wrench
- An assistant
- Phillips screwdriver
- Appliance dolly or handcart
- You must remove the doors from the refrigerator and lay the appliance on its back to prevent children from climbing inside, where they might become trapped without air. If left upright, the fridge can fall and crush a person walking or standing nearby.