Friday, April 5, 2013

Recycling Appliances, Computers & Electronics

How to Properly Recycle Appliances - Why is this important?

 * Today's article was written by: Gina Howard - an avid DIYer who has had to repair, replace, and recycle many appliances in her fixer upper home.  Gina is concerned about making DIY projects as green and eco-friendly as possible, and prefers to repair appliances if at all possible, but if not, making sure they do not go to a landfill and that they are properly recycled.

When appliances break down or you simply want new ones, it is time to think about their disposal. It may seem easiest to throw small appliances in the trash, but this is wasteful and harmful in many ways. Appliances do not break down and disappear, and some large appliances, such as refrigerators and air conditioners, contain harmful substances, and some appliance parts can be repurposed and metal and steel recycled. In addition, refrigerators and freezers pose a danger for children who may become trapped inside. For the safety of all people and the environment, all appliances should be recycled in appropriate ways. Here is how you can do this.

Appliances That Still Function

If you are buying new appliances but your old appliances still work, the best ways to recycle the old is to donate them to charity or sell them locally. To donate old appliances to charity, look up local charities in your phone book. Call them and ask them if they will accept appliances. Many do, and most will schedule a date to come pick them up from your home. Your old appliances will then be sold to support the charity or given to those in need, rather than sitting at a dumpsite polluting the environment.

An additional way to give the appliances away is to place an ad online or in your newspaper stating the condition of the item and that it is free for pickup, or you may get a few hundred bucks depending on the item and condition.  Take pictures, this helps move the item and get better offers.

Appliances That No Longer Work

Appliances that no longer work, and that cannot be repaired will need to be scrapped. Two of the easiest ways to recycle these appliances is to take them to a recycling center that accepts large appliances or call a business that refurbishes appliances.  Recyclers will remove coolants from refrigerators and air conditioners in ways conforming to government regulations, sparing the environment from the harmful effects of these substances.

Some recycling centers and refurbishing businesses offer pickup of large appliances, such as refrigerators, ovens, washers and dryers. Call the center or business to find out if they do this and to find out what appliances they accept. Many do this without charge, but some do charge a fee – make sure to ask about fees.

Computers and Electronics

Computers and other electronic items are handled by recycling organizations different from those that handle kitchen appliances. Computer parts are valuable and many can be exchanged between computers. This is why malfunctioning computers can often be refurbished and brought back to working order. Computers are stripped and the faulty parts scrapped. Electronics such as computers, mobile phones and television sets should never be disposed of haphazardly. Many electronics contain mercury and other toxic substances and must be recycled according to specific safety regulations.  Many offices will host a free electronics recycling days.

To find a recycling center near you, the easiest method is to search online with your city for the nearest services.  Many will provide an online list of the items they do and do not accept.  Although some will charge a fee, it is important to have these items properly recycled to avoid harming the environment.

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