There are many environmental concerns regarding the disposal of many household appliances. Refrigerated appliances, for example, such as refrigerators, freezers and air-conditioning units, contain substances that can be harmful to the environment if released during processing. There are laws regarding proper appliance recycling in Massachusetts, making it important to find a scrap metal recycling facility that can properly dispose of your used household appliances.
CFC, which stands for chlorofluorocarbon, is a type of refrigerant typically used in refrigerators and freezers that were made before 1995. Most air-conditioning units and dehumidifiers, typically contain HCFC, which stands for hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerants.
CFCs and HCFCs are substances that are known to deplete the protective ozone layer of the earth. In addition to this damaging quality, CFCs and HCFCs are also both considered to be greenhouse gases, which some scientists believe contributes to global climate change.
Refrigerators and freezers manufactured after 1995 contain a more ozone-friendly type of refrigerant known as HFC or hydrofluorocarbon. However, even though these refrigerants are less dangerous than CFCs or HCFCs, they must still be handled carefully, as they are still considered to be greenhouse gas materials. Working with a scrap metal recycling facility that has the ability to provide proper CFC removal is an important part of appliance recycling in Massachusetts.
In addition to refrigerants, another substance used in the manufacturing of refrigerators and freezers that must be considered is the foam insulation that is used to keep the cold air inside the unit. Any of these appliances that were made prior to 2005, were insulated using a foam that contains ozone depleting substances, either CFCs or HCFCs.
However, refrigerators and freezers that were manufactured after 2005 contain insulation products that are friendly to both the ozone layer and the climate. It is important to note that the two other appliances mentioned in the refrigerant section, air-conditioners and dehumidifers, do not contain any type of foam insulation. Proper CFC removal is required for foam insulation found in used household appliances.
In addition to refrigerant and foam insulation, there are other potentially-hazardous substances that must be considered when discarding household appliances. Many common appliances contain used oil, mercury and a component known as PCBs or polychlorinated biphenyls.
Used oil, for example, can become contaminated with ozone depleting substances, such as refrigerant, making it hazardous to groundwater and soil contamination. Older appliances, such as those manufactured prior to 1979, were known to contain PCB capacitors.
Chest freezers and some refrigerators made prior to 2000 have components, such as relays and switches, that contain mercury. It is extremely important that you take your used appliances to a scrap metal recycling facility that has the ability to safely remove these components and proper CFC removal prior to processing.
Why Recycle Your Old Appliances?
In addition to making sure that CFCs and other hazardous substances and components are properly removed from your used household appliances, there are a lot of other benefits to recycling. Nearly all of the materials used to manufacture your appliances can be recycled at your local scrap metal recycling facility. The metal cabinet that houses your refrigerator, dryer or washing machine can be recycled, as well as any plastic liners, glass shelves, motor and other parts.
Appliance recycling consists of the removal of hazardous components before the shredding or grinding of the remaining appliance parts. The metal parts of your used household appliances are separated and recycled, while plastics and glass may be processed or disposed of at another facility. However, while some parts will end up in the local landfill, it is important to note that this process ensures safer disposal of these items following the removal of any hazardous materials.
How to Dispose of Used Household Appliances
While there are lots of people who post notices offering free appliance removal and pick-up, your best bet to ensure proper CFC removal and processing of your used household appliances is to work directly with a local scrap metal recycling facility. For residents and businesses located in the Southcoast area, Mid-City Scrap Iron & Salvage in Westport is an excellent choice for appliance recycling in Massachusetts.
Mid-City Scrap has the ability to process used household appliances, such as refrigerators and freezers, according to strict industry standards. The technicians at Mid-City work to provide proper CFC removal from these appliances before the other materials are processed in the company’s grinder or baler. You can be rest-assured that Mid-City works to remove these hazardous components and materials according to Massachusetts state law to protect our local environment.
For more information about Mid-City Scrap Iron & Salvage, as well as details on used household appliances accepted and proper CFC removal, contact the Westport, MA office toll free by calling 800-334-4789. Mid-City Scrap provides services to residents, contractors, corporations, manufacturers and industrial facilities throughout the Southeastern Massachusetts area, including Cape Cod and Rhode Island.