How to Safely Dispose of Appliances with Refrigerant

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How to Safely Dispose of Appliances with Refrigerant

So you’ve just bought a new air conditioner, dehumidifier, or other appliance but – uh oh! How do you get rid of the old one? It can’t just go in your wheelie bin, so what can you do?

Why is safe disposal important?

Most cooling and dehumidifying appliances contain a chemical coolant. They are split into 2 categories - chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons 200 (HCFCs). CFCs and HCFCs are potent greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and destroy the ozone layer, so it’s important to ensure that they are safely and responsibly disposed of.

Because these substances are so dangerous, it’s actually illegal for you to irresponsibly dispose for your appliance that contains refrigerant.

Some appliances now use ‘eco-friendly’ R290 gas, also known as propane. Propane is non-toxic, has no impact on the ozone layer, and almost no impact on global warming. They are a more responsible choice when it comes to purchase and use, but these appliances should still be treated the same as CFC and HCFC containing alternatives when it comes to disposal.

So how do I safely dispose of my appliance?

There are lots of options when it comes to getting rid of your old appliance.

If it still works and you’re simply upgrading, consider donating or selling your appliance to someone who could use it. Local selling groups or Facebook Marketplace are great ways to quickly and easily get rid of unwanted appliances.

If your air conditioner has stopped working, there may be a local organisation who can safely break it down to reuse the components and decommission the refrigerant.

The final option is to send it to landfill, but you will need to check with your local council how this should be done properly.

As we’ve already said above, it can’t simply be put out with your weekly collection. You may need to arrange a special collection or take it to your local household recycling centre.