There’s something exciting about upgrading your old appliances for glossy, modern ones that get the job done. As enduring as they may be, all appliances — from dishwashers to washers and dryers — have a shelf life and eventually need to be swapped for the latest tech.
If you’re in the market for new appliances or are curious about what to do with old ones, you might be surprised to learn that the solution is simpler than letting them gather dust in your storage space.
While they may no longer be of use to you, they can be unexpectedly useful in a myriad of other ways. In fact, most large appliances have a lifespan of around 10 to 20 years, which means their usefulness may supersede the lifespan they have within your home.
Local not-for-profit stewardship agency, Major Appliance Recycling Roundtable (MARR), is in the business of managing BC’s end-of-life large household appliances.
The Return-It Large Appliance Program operates on behalf of MARR to help fulfill the stewardship plan that has been approved by the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. The program currently has over 190 collection sites with free drop-off, which collect and recycle large appliances that are no longer in use.
Why is it important?
Since lots of big appliances, like freezers and fridges, are used for cooling and freezing, many of them have chemical properties that are considered ozone-depleting substances (ODS). Because these chemicals can be ultra harmful to the environment and have the potential to contaminate our precious wilderness, they need to be handled and disposed of carefully by licensed professionals.
By recycling these appliances, we can ensure that they’re managed with the utmost care and are disposed of properly without hazard to the environment. It also means that any recyclable materials can go back into the manufacturing cycle and usable parts can be given fresh meaning in the creation of newer appliances.
What appliances can be recycled?
The program accepts a broad spectrum of large appliances, including usual home staples, like fridges, freezers, stoves, washers, and dryers. It also encompasses other appliances you might not have considered, including electric cold-water dispensers, dehumidifiers, portable air conditioners, and many others.
Who is supported?
The program is available to those across BC and is especially committed to making large appliance recycling free and accessible to First Nations and other rural or remote communities.
When it comes to collecting these appliances in small or remote areas, it’s often done on an annual or semi-annual basis. To date, the program has provided collection, transportation, and logistical services to Indigenous Communities, including Lake Babine Nation, Seabird Island Band, Takla Lake First Nation, Soowahlie First Nation, and a number of other communities as part of its mandate for readiness and approachability.