Here's how to safely dispose of your large appliances for free

Jul 15 2022, 5:15 pm

Most of us can be honest with ourselves and say that while we largely care about the environment and doing what we can to make a difference — we don’t always know how to do so. That’s why continuing to learn more about the ways in which we can live responsibly and lessen our environmental impact is so important.

Like, for example, how many of us knew that our large appliances used for cooling and refrigeration — like fridges, freezers, and air conditioners — are harmful to the environment if they’re not disposed of properly?

Good thing there are over 200 Major Appliance Recycling Roundtable (MARR) sites in BC where this can be taken care of for us. In addition to permanent sites for those in more remote areas, MARR supports community collection events by partnering with local community organizers. MARR is a not-for-profit stewardship agency created to implement and operate a stewardship plan for end-of-life major household appliances in BC.

And in the spirit of doing better for our Earth, allow us to inform you exactly what makes these devices so harmful, and how you can make sure you don’t pollute by doing away with them improperly.

Large appliances used for cooling and refrigeration, like air conditioners, are harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly

BaLL LunLa/Shutterstock

First, the bad news: any old-model cooling appliance you replace uses harmful chemical refrigerants that, as a group, are classified as ozone-depleting substances (ODS). However, newer models have a near-zero global warming potential (GWP), and no ozone-depleting effects.

In addition to ODS, other harsh refrigerants at play with these old models are greenhouse gasses. And while the home appliance industry has been transitioning away from these greenhouse gases, (otherwise known as very high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants) in refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, portable air conditioners, and dehumidifiers — these harmful elements are still active in appliances today.

Large appliances used for cooling and refrigeration, like fridges, are harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly

Teerawit Chankowet/Shutterstock

The good news, however, is all that is being done to stop these harmful toxins from getting into our Earth — and how much easier it is for you to do your part.

If refrigerants are released into the air, these gasses deplete the ozone and can contribute to the greenhouse effect that is responsible for global warming, that’s why MARR works with licensed professionals who will ensure any harmful substances are safely removed and disposed of legally.

And the best part? It couldn’t be easier to do your part in disposing of your harmful, end-of-life large appliances.

Large appliances used for cooling and refrigeration, like freezers, are harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly

QBR/Shutterstock

In 2019, Return-It became an official service provider for MARR — a not-for-profit stewardship agency created to implement and operate a stewardship plan for end-of-life major household appliances in BC. With this partnership, MARR is hoping to assist its board and management in delivering a successful program under their approved stewardship plan.

All you have to do is bring your large appliance to any of the collection sites, which can be located here. To learn more about MARR services and to find a collection site near you, visit return-it.ca/large-appliances.

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