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How to Recycle a Refrigerator

A few weeks back we replaced our old refrigerator with a more energy efficient (and shinier) one. But what to do with the old one? Because it was still working, we could take advantage of the Mass Save refrigerator recycling program. It’s designed to ensure that inefficient refrigerators aren’t kept in service, but instead recycled responsibly, and offers a $50 incentive to do so.

refrigerator_recyclingUnfortunately, the experience wasn’t great for me. The first issue I had was with scheduling. The program has online scheduling, but only offers three options at a time. So I chose a pickup time and then scheduled my new fridge delivery around it. But that fell apart when my new fridge came with a dented compressor and we had to get a replacement. Suddenly the back-to-back schedule that we’d set up didn’t work, and the old fridge wasn’t picked up until a couple weeks after the new delivery. There also weren’t any weekend times available, so one of us had to stay home from work for the pickup. (Thanks, Jason!) And the worst part…the program doesn’t pick up from a third floor. We had to move the fridge to the driveway ourselves, which wasn’t fun without all the right equipment. All in all, it wasn’t the best way for me to recycle my refrigerator.

So I looked into others. These include:

  • Municipal recycling – My city, Cambridge, offers pick up and recycling of refrigerators. You have to pay $25 to apply for a permit and leave the refrigerator on the curb on the appropriate day with the doors removed.
  • Retailer recycling – The EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal program partners with retailers, as well as utility energy efficiency programs. (Mass Save is part of this, too.) Home Depot, Sears, and Best Buy are all retail partners. Since we bought our new refrigerator from Home Depot, that would probably have been the easiest. They charge $15, and offer delivery to/removal from the third floor.

In sum, if you live in a 1-2 story house, I’d still suggest giving Mass Save’s refrigerator recycling a try. If not, I’d go with one of the retailers partnered with the EPA or your local Department of Public Works. They’ll cost you a few bucks, but they’ll likely be easier, and you can still rest easy knowing your fridge was recycled properly.

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