Toasters, microwaves, blenders, and other small appliances are investments that should last you a while. However, if you’ve been holding on to decades-old appliances, eventually you will need to replace them. When the time comes to upgrade – or to downsize the number of gadgets in your kitchen – it is important to know what to do with your old items.
Some small appliances, like air conditioning units, contain hazardous cooling components that can destroy the ozone layer and are harmful to humans, while others like microwaves can contain precious resources like gold and copper. So, it is always best to do your research before trying to dispose of these yourself.
Most small appliances contain valuable and reusable materials, so don’t toss them out with your trash! While many components of your small appliances can be recycled, you can’t put them in your curbside recycling bin. You may be a fan of do-it-yourself (DIY) projects in your kitchen, but you can’t DIY your appliance recycling. These items need to be treated with special care to ensure they’re safely and effectively recycled.
See below for a handy guide to recycling small appliances:
- A few days before you plan to dispose of your appliance, unplug it and let it cool down.
- If the item is in working condition, consider donating it to a local thrift store. Remember to clean it out first!
- Alternatively, consider a buy-back program with a big box retailer. Many retailers, like Best Buy, Staples, and Walmart, will allow you to trade-in old appliances in working condition for store credit. Additionally, some retailers offer appliance pick-up and disposal services with the purchase and delivery of a new model. Others may allow you to drop off the old appliance at the retail establishment.
- Many small electronics, like cellphones and laptops, contain lithium-ion batteries. These have the potential to cause dangerous fires if not handled properly. For more information about recycling small electronics check out RepublicServices.com.
- Remember never to place a small appliance in with your curbside recyclables. It can easily get damaged in the truck’s compactor, and broken pieces of glass and plastic will contaminate the rest of the recyclables.
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