Your complete guide to recycling household appliances

When you remodel your house, or invest in new appliances for the kitchen, it can be tricky to know what to do with the old appliances that you have lying around. It might seem like your only option is to shift those bulky appliances to a garage space, or to throw them on to the rubbish heap. But actually, there is another way. You can also choose to recycle your old appliances, so that the materials can be used for other purposes.

Which household appliances can be recycled?

Actually, most of your appliances can be recycled. So whether you are getting rid of an old stove, a refrigerator, a washer and dryer, or a microwave – these all have lots of recyclable potential. So why don't these kinds of appliances get recycled more often? Firstly, people are unsure about how to recycle a large appliance – after all, it's not quite as simple as putting a used soda can into the recycling basket. Secondly, appliances often contain certain materials that are not recyclable, and this means that professional help is required to take the appliance apart so that the usable scrap metal is salvaged from the appliances.

What are some of the ways to recycle used appliances?

First of all, it is important to distinguish between old appliances that can still be used, and old appliances that have no life left in them whatsoever. Before an appliance like a microwave or a fridge-freezer is used for scrap metal, it could be used by somebody who really needs it if it is still functional – and passing an appliance on is still a method of recycling. Of course, you could ask around your neighbourhood to see if one of your neighbours is in need of anything, but you can also contact local Goodwill charities who will happily take your appliances from you and find a new home for them.

So what about the appliances that are no longer functioning? There are many green charities that are dedicated to reducing carbon emissions, and part of their function is to encourage recycling. Because of this, they often have the expert resource in-house that can separate recyclable materials from appliance fluids and other elements that cannot be recycled. It takes expert knowledge to do this, so do not attempt working with this big machinery that often contains electrical circuits yourself. Charity representatives will very often come to your house to pick up your old appliances, so call around local green charities and figure out which charity can help you the most.

You should also contact your local council because they could well have a recycling program that includes the pickup of your old household appliances from the street kerb.

What do your recycled appliances go on to become?

The great payback of recycling your used appliances is that the salvaged scrap metal can be used in a range of different ways. You will be helping out the planet by reducing the amount of natural resources it takes to create new, useful products as their production will not be dependent on resource intensive mining processes.

The scrap metal from your appliances will be melted down at a very high temperature, and moved on to producers so that they can be used for other things. The metal could be used to create new and more energy efficient appliances, cans that are used to store food and drinks, and even vehicles like automobiles. When you consider that the average car requires 2400 pounds of steel, when that car is made from recycled scrap metal, it is doing a great service to the environment.