How to Dispose of Refrigerator? 8 Common Ways!

There are many reasons you may want to dispose of your refrigerator. The most common reason is that they may have stopped working or may have way too many problems.

Alternatively, if your refrigerator is too old or does not match your kitchen’s interior, replacing it with a new one may be a good idea.

Keep reading as we share a detailed guide on ‘How to dispose of a refrigerator?’

When Should You Replace Your Refrigerator?

If your refrigerator can no longer keep your food cold or prevent it from getting bad, it probably means you need to get it replaced. 

Before you decide to dispose of your fridge, check with an electrician to see what the problem could be and if there is a way to fix it.

You can also do a simple test at home by following the steps below:

  1. High temperature: your refrigerator comes with a regulator. Check the dial to make sure it is turned to a lower temperature that cools properly.
  2. Compressor: Compressor is present on the back of your refrigerator. Listen to the sound of the motor running along with the temperature to see if the compressor is working fine or not.

Can Refrigerators Be Disposed Of In The Trash?

Casting out a refrigerator when it is no longer used is not as easy as taking out your daily trash.

Refrigerators are large items that are manufactured with electrical and chemical means.

This is why there are a lot of environmental hazards associated with disposing of such items. This makes proper disposal of refrigerators even more important.

Luckily, there are a lot of ways that you can discard a refrigerator safely and effectively.

How To Dispose of a Refrigerator?

Let’s head into it directly. Here are eight ways you can dispose of your refrigerator safely.

Option # 1: Book An Appointment With A Waste Collection Company

A refrigerator is an item that is usually too large to be picked up from the curb by your daily trash pick-up services.

You will need to contact several waste collection companies and find out which services suit you the most.

Make sure that you give them a detailed call before you make an appointment with them.

You will need to confirm with the waste collection company which rules are to be followed by you before the pick-up.

Most commonly, the company requires you to unscrew the doors, locks, and hinges from your fridge and have them moved outside your curb so they can collect them.

Make sure you take the help of a friend when moving such bulky items.

Most trash collection companies will dispose of your fridge in a landfill which is why this is not a good or eco-friendly option.

Option # 2: Bulk Trash Pick-up Days

Your city’s local waste management company may offer bulk trash pick-up days. There are specific days scheduled by the company that collects bulky waste, such as discarded refrigerators.

Check out the website or call your local waste management service to see which day they offer this service. You will have to move your fridge a few days before pick-up day.

If your city does not have bulk trash pick-up days, you can simply book an appointment with any waste collection company and have them dispose of the refrigerator for you.

Make sure to let the company know beforehand that you want to dispose of a fridge so they can make arrangements to discard/recycle any chemical agents present in it, such as freon or other refrigerants.

Option # 3: Sell Your Fridge to an Electric Company

Many companies offer an exchange plan to buy back an old appliance from their company for a new one. Many companies also offer cash or credit off their next electric bill.

Call your electric company to see if they participate in any such programs so you can receive some rebate from them.

Again, you will need to have your fridge moved to the curb a few days before the scheduled pick-up time.

However, some electric companies also offer pick-up from inside the house, so confirm with them beforehand.

Option # 4: Hand Over Your Fridge to an Appliance Dealer

Many appliance dealers will buy your used fridge. Check with your local shops and ask if they have any policies on old appliances.

Most dealers will take your old fridge and repair it to sell it again. They may also recycle the parts and use or sell them.

This is a win-win situation as you are getting rid of the waste while your appliance dealer makes use of that trash.

Option # 5: Give Your Fridge to a Recycling Center

Recycling centers are now becoming common everywhere. These centers recycle all components of your objects safely.

Lookup any recycling center near you that takes part in the Responsible Appliance Disposal program and give it to them.

Rest assured, they will safely remove all contaminants before recycling them.

Most recycling centers also offer pick-up services from your house.

Option # 6: Sell Your Fridge to a Scrapyard

Scrapyards are also similar to recycling centers that will recycle all the metal from your fridge for other purposes.

Contact your local scrap yard and see if they accept refrigerators.

You will need to arrange for transportation from your house to the scrapyard.

Option # 7: Resell Your Refrigerator

If you have decided to upgrade to a new fridge, but your old one is still in working condition, consider reselling it. Many people prefer getting a second-hand fridge.

Therefore, you can always pitch in the money you get from selling the old one to buy the new one.

You can take your fridge to your nearest market to get a fair price on it or consider selling it online.

Many authentic, online markets/sites such as Facebook, Craigslist, etc., are available where you can easily sell off your refrigerator.

Option # 8: Giving Away Your Refrigerator

Giving away or donating your refrigerator if it is in working condition is always a better option than disposing of or throwing it away.

Contact your local charities or other donation centers to see if they require such articles. Let them know the size and measurements of the fridge and its condition.

The organization will have it picked up from your house or make arrangements to deliver it.

That way, your waste could become useful for somebody else.

Make sure your fridge is cleaned from the inside out and is in good working condition. Avoid donating it if it has too many problems as that will not be very useful for anyone.

Why Is Safe Disposal of Refrigerators Necessary for the Environment?

Refrigerators and other cooling systems such as air conditioners use gases such as CFCs and HFCs as their coolants.

Most refrigerators manufactured before 1995 use CFCs as their coolants, while the more recent ones use HCFCs. However, it all comes down to the same thing.

They both are greenhouse gases that have adverse effects on the environment.

These gases are hundreds to thousands of times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide emissions.

The UV rays break down these gases in the stratosphere, and the chloride hence formed is extremely reactive with ozone. One atom is sufficient to break thousands of ozone molecules at a time.

Since the past decade, most cooling systems have begun using HFCs, which are ozone-friendly gases.

However, they are still greenhouse gases, and there is still a great need for the safe disposal of items like refrigerators that use HFCs.

How Different Components of a Refrigerator Affect the Environment?


The major part of refrigerators is made up of foam which is a great insulating material. The foam contains ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases that are harmful to the environment.

Other cooling systems such as air conditioners do not have foam, and all refrigerators manufactured after 2005 consist of climate-friendly foam. Hence, these are eco-friendly.

Hazardous Component

As previously mentioned, there are a lot of chemical substances present in most household appliances, such as refrigerators.

Most commonly found hazardous materials in refrigerators include mercury, used oil, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

For instance, the oil present in the cooling circuit contains refrigerants that are ozone-depleting substances.

Similarly, most refrigerators manufactured before 2005 contain extremely toxic mercury, and most appliances manufactured before 1979 may contain PCB.

These substances are not just bad for the environment but could be toxic for your health too. This is why it is of the utmost importance to dispose of any such items correctly.

Is It Possible To Recycle A Refrigerator?

Yes, it is possible to recycle a refrigerator.

There are proper facilities present in most cities that safely remove any hazardous components from refrigerators before other parts of it can be recycled.

Tips to Follow Before Disposing of a Refrigerator

  1. Unplug your refrigerator and leave it to defrost for a few hours.
  2. Make sure all eatables have been removed.
  3. Fix any loose items such as shelves and other compartments with tape to prevent them from falling.
  4. Make sure not to lift the fridge alone. Take help from another person or let professionals handle it.

The Bottom Line

We hope our guide on ‘How to dispose of the refrigerator was easy to understand and assisted you in the basics of disposing of a refrigerator in an eco-friendly manner.

Contact your local waste management authority or other recycling services near you to get more information. Good Luck!

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