CHI Good Questions: What to Do with Old Appliances?

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Dear AT,

How would one go about disposing of appliances like microwaves and coffee machines? I can’t imagine that just throwing it out in the dumpster is the most eco-friendly way to do so, but I doubt I can recycle it either. I’ve checked on re-nest, and didn’t find anything, and google is surprisingly unhelpful as well.


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Dear Kristina,

Actually, recycling your appliances is the best way to go. Some info from Appliance Recycling Centers of America, Inc.:

1. Major home appliances make up about 10% of the steel processed by the recycling industry (cars make up 80%).

2. Approximately 75% of the typical major household appliance is made of steel, America’s most recycled material.

3. Appliances also contain other recyclable materials, including aluminum, copper, CFC refrigerants and some plastics.

Check out the Chicago Recycling Coalition site for local info on how to recycle or donate your old stuff. The site’s initial bit of advice is to recycle your old appliances at the same time you are buying something new, as many retailers will take back the appliances to refurbish and possibly resell.