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How to Dispose of Refrigerators and Air Conditioners

While we rely on fridges and air conditioners everyday, what do we do with them once they wear-out?
The first form of modern day refrigeration dates back to the 1800s with an icemaker. It wasn't until the early 1900s when the refrigerator really began taking off.

While it's tough to imagine life without freezers, refrigerators and air conditioners, we also need to keep in mind that the refrigerants used in them can be very harmful to the environment.

"It was a huge issue years ago, especially when they started realizing that the chemicals being used in these units, if the lines were cut, it was creating an impact on the ozone layer. So now there are pretty strict laws in place for how you handle it and documentation you need to have that shows that you properly did handle it along with certifications to pass on with the units before they can be properly recycled," said Broome County Materials Recovery Manager Debra Smith. 

The Broome County Landfill makes sure the old units are correctly handled.

"We do have a program set up at the landfill, so we do accept refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners and dehumidifiers on a routine basis and then we have certified staff that will remove the Freon and other refrigerants from them. From there they get sent to a scrap metal dealer for recycling," said Smith.

There is a charge to drop items that contain refrigerants at the landfill. The minimum fee is $10 and the tip fee per ton is $45.

Refrigerators and freezers must have the doors removed from them because of safety reasons.

The units are accepted during normal landfill hours.

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