To say that technology moves fast is an understatement. Every day, new and better cell phones, TVs, computers, and other gadgets are piling up in the market. A lot of these devices end up in your home, making your life easier and more productive. Meanwhile, older appliances have to be moved to the attic or basement to save space. There are other ways to get rid of old appliances though, aside from letting them gather dust.
One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s Treasure
If you really don’t want to use your old appliances again, consider giving them to other people, especially if they’re in good working condition. Lots of people need these appliances to make their lives better; and there are also charity groups who can raise some much needed money using these old appliances. Here are some ways to give your old appliances to other people:
- Give them to charity: You may give your old appliances to nonprofit organizations (NPOs) that provide education, training, and career services to people with disadvantages. Some of these NPOs have stores that accept small appliances and large appliances like refrigerators and dryers. They may give these appliances to less fortunate people if they are in good working condition. You can go to the websites of these NPOs for more information. Once you’ve found your charity of choice, simply call the branch nearest to you and inquire if they can come pick the appliances at your home.
- “Gifting” networks: There are now some websites that call themselves “gifting” networks. You can post items, like appliances, on such sites, and local people can claim those items if they need them. You may then talk to the other party about where and when to make the exchange. This is a very convenient way to give your old appliances to other people, and make new friends.
- Search the Web: These days, it’s best to start any kind of research on the Internet. If you want your appliances to go to the right people, you have to search the Web for the right charity. There are lots of websites that list charity organizations, including their contact details. Some ask you to pay a small fee so you can list your item; and then they’ll match you with the local charity that needs that item.
How about repairing your appliances?
There are people who say that the age of repair shops is now over. In this fast-paced modern world, it is oftentimes more practical to simply ditch old gadgets and replace them with new ones instead of repairing them. This is usually true when it comes to small appliances, where repair costs often exceed the cost of replacement. There are repair shops though that accept donations for parts. Some thrift stores also accept broken small appliances.
If you have a large appliance, like a refrigerator, repairing it may be less expensive than buying a new one. Have it checked by a technician since one tiny part may just need to be replaced. Some old appliances can be restored 100% with minor repairs. It’s also a great idea to repair your old appliances first before giving them to charities.
How to Recycle Old Appliances
Not too long ago, unwanted appliances were just dumped in landfills even if most of them are almost completely recyclable. Now, many countries and states outlaw landfill dumping because of environmental concerns. You can be a part of this movement to protect the environment by simply recycling your old appliances; here’s how.
- Step 1: When buying a new appliance, check to see if the store or manufacturer will accept and recycle your old unit in exchange. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has a list of participating vendors that you can view online. Many of them mainly sell cell phones and computers, but a few offer appliance recycling options.
- Step 2: Most major appliances today are made of 75% steel, a valuable recyclable material. Contact your local municipality since it may already have a program in place to pick up and recycle large appliances, like refrigerators. You may also browse through websites that list recycling locations in every state.
- Step 3: Refrigerators and air conditioners contain refrigerants with chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs. These substances are harmful to the environment because they deplete the ozone layer. Many municipalities today require refrigerants to be removed first before you can recycle your appliances. In such municipalities though, you’d still have to remove the refrigerants even if you’re just going to dump the appliances.
- You can have the refrigerant removed by a trained technician; or you can simply go to a recycling center where they usually have trained technicians on site. After the refrigerants are removed, the appliances are then shredded, shipped to mills, and made into new products. The remaining material called “fluff” is put in a landfill or burned.
Fun Ways to Reuse Old Appliances
Another way to get rid of your old appliances is to breathe new life into them. This is perfect if you’re the artsy type since you’ll have fun exercising your creative muscles. Make your old appliances useful again through the following tips:
- Blender flower vase: If the blades of your blender no longer work, but the pitcher is fine, consider turning it into a flower vase. Simply clean the pitcher thoroughly, then paint designs on it using poster paint. Flowery patterns will look good on the vase, as well as leaf designs. It’s a good idea to keep the designs simple, so the vase would have a fun, fresh look. You may also ask your child to help you out, by letting him paint the handle. When you’re done, put the flowers in the vase, and put the vase on the center of the table.
- A very unique aquarium: You can turn an old plastic water container into a unique and beautiful aquarium. First, clean the container thoroughly, then buy plastic seaweeds, figurines, and other aquarium decorations from the pet store. Install the items just like you would in a regular aquarium, then put in your fish, making sure that your fish has adequate oxygen to survive in the container. You can paint some designs on the container to make it look more interesting.
- Slow cooker treat box: Many slow cookers are so beautifully decorated that they are a waste to throw away. Keep your old slow cooker by turning it into a “treat box” filled with lollipops, candies, and mints. One way to do this is by filling the slow cooker with colorful stickers. You can have your child pick the stickers he likes, then put them on the pot. Next, print a tag that says “treat box” on your computer, and put it in the center of the pot. Place the treat box in the living room, and watch your guests’ amazement when they see it.
- Microwave diorama: Another excellent idea is to turn your old microwave oven into a diorama. This is best if your child is working on a school project for his art class or show and tell. The microwave oven will protect the diorama, and also show its contents if it has a clear glass. Your child will be cool at school because his diorama is not only creative, but also Earth-friendly.
- Rice cooker for growing plants: This is similar to the blender vase, but this time, you’re putting growing plants in your old rice cooker. Rinse the rice cooker thoroughly, then put soil inside. Transfer a budding plant into the rice cooker, and tend to the plant every day. Small plants are best, so that you don’t have to transfer the plant to a bigger container if its roots start to grow.
There are endless possibilities with old appliances. Let your imagination fly to turn these old things into cool and useful stuff. Remember, if you can’t think of anything to do with your old appliances, you always have the option of giving them to charity or recycling them.
Click here for more information on how to get rid of old appliances.