How to Get Rid of a Refrigerator

old refrigerators on roadside

Storing an old refrigerator represents a conundrum. It's too big to toss out, too heavy to move around, and it simply sucks having it take up all that space. It elicits a shoulder shrug followed by a deep sigh, and a “What am I going to do with that?” every time you look at it.

Getting rid of that old fridge will really make your life better.

New energy efficient refrigerators are coming on the market daily, making our old refrigerators lame and feeble. They are outdated and inefficient. If you haven’t replaced your 1990’s fridge yet, get a move on. You’re wasting precious money on electricity bills for a refrigerator that does half the job of a new energy efficient model. Get with the times.

Once we've replaced them with the newest state of the art Energy Star model, our old junkers sit in our garages or on our back porch wasting away. There’s always the thought in the back of our head that one day we will turn it into a beer fridge. Yet every time we start down that road we remember we’re not in college anymore and having a beer fridge, when you're over thirty, makes you a loser … who am I kidding I still want one. Maybe we’ll just put a couple sodas in there too and then we can call it a drink fridge. That’s much less lame. But if it has been over a year and you still haven’t made good use of your old fridge, then it's time to get rid of it.

Cost of keeping your old fridge

One solution to your problem might be to keep it around as a spare, but you’ll only be creating new resentment. Think about it before you decide to keep an old fridge as a spare or as a beer fridge. Older model refrigerators are not energy efficient and will inflate your energy bill. The A/C costs enough, be sure before you plug in another energy drainer. If you don’t desperately need the extra fridge space, it's probably not worth it.


Recycling is not just for tree-hugging hippies, it's for all of us.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that more than 9 million refrigerators get thrown out, in the U.S., every year. Because of the number of refrigerators being tossed out of their homes, it is important that these old beasts get recycled properly. Depending on how old the fridges are they will contain ozone depleting chemicals and other products that produce tons of greenhouse gasses.


The worst of which is Freon, a refrigerant that, if not disposed of properly, seeps into the air we breathe then rises up into the atmosphere causing irreparable damage to our ozone layer. Since none of us want to die a fiery death caused by the heat of a thousand suns or even just our own sun, we need to do everything we can to keep our ozone shield in place.

Making sure they are recycled properly means a reduction in emissions, the safe disposal of oil, mercury and other contaminants, and will free up landfill space. Can you imagine how much room our landfills will need to house 9 million old refrigerators? Not to mention the damage 9 million refrigerators full of mercy, oil and refrigerant will do to our atmosphere. And that is just this year alone, another 9 million will be thrown out next year too. To put this in perspective, every 1,000 refrigerators can cause as much environmental damage as 1,500 cars driving for a whole year. For 9 million fridges that's 13.5 million cars.

The point is, recycling refrigerators, instead of just hauling them to the landfill, is important now more than ever. Scraping your refrigerator for cash is a great way to help the environment while putting a few bucks in your pocket.

With all of the crap in refrigerators, of course, the government has made restrictions and regulations on how to properly get rid of one. Federal law requires all refrigerants and chemicals be removed and disposed of properly before the shell and metal can be disposed of or recycled.

Out of the hundreds of pounds of metal plastic and glass that make up a fridge over 95% of it can be recycled. On average an old fridge can be stripped down to about 150 pounds of metal, 75 pounds of plastic, over 10 pounds of glass and at least 1 pound of insulating foam, all which can be recycled and made into brand new products. Think about it, your fridge might one day be the right arm of Robocop, or maybe just a new tire rim. It's not just your run of the mill recyclables either, sure there is metal, but there is also plastic, glass, compressors, motors, thermostats, and polyurethane foam. There is a lot of metal in there. Any fridge older than 10 years has about 120 pounds of recyclable steel. That's enough to make Iron Maiden jealous, so don't let it go to waste.

If you get lucky you might even make a few bucks depending on how much metal a recycle center can get out of it.

Either way, you can make something cool with your broken box, so don’t just dump that old fridge.

How To Get Rid of a Refrigerator Near Me?


Call AZ Junk for a Fridge Pickup

You can do a little research to find the right option for you or you can go the easy route and call AZ Junk. Unlike some of the other programs, we will pick up the fridge and dispose of it properly ourselves - leaving you absolutely zero work to do. We do not take them to the dump, but instead, we see to it that every refrigerator is recycled according to state and federal law. You can rest assured we are doing our part to provide responsible appliance disposal services.



A lot of nonprofits and local scrap yards  have popped up to help out. They dismantle the fridge, accord to the law, and then recycle the pieces. In addition, some cities, including the City of Phoenix, will collect and recycle them. Check your city's recycling pickup programs here.  

Here’s a quick look at local city trash pickup days

In Arizona, APS used to pick up refrigerators and pay you $30 by way of rebate but they discontinued it several years ago – check the link to see if APS offers a rebate or cash in your state. You can also search out your local state energy offices to see if they offer pick up and disposal services.



Also don’t forget you can always try Craigslist, Facebook Yard Sales or similar sites to help you make a little bit of money by selling your unwanted fridge and someone will come by and pick up your refrigerator.

How to Get Rid of a Refrigerator for Free

Now if you’re a fan of Tim the Toolman Taylor you might be inclined to dismantle the fridge yourself and recycle the parts. Here's a review of some our recommended recycling facilities in Phoenix. Just make sure you know what you're doing before you jump into dismantling the refrigerator yourself.

It's more than just unplugging it and taking a jackhammer to it. Most importantly you have to remove the Freon before you can begin demolition. Using the Recycling Locator, you can find some Arizona resources that can assist in Freon removal as part of their recycling services. These programs require a little bit more work from you, some require you to drop them off at a recycling facility.

Can you just take the fridge or freezer to the dump?

Refrigerators contain freon and other dangerous chemicals. These chemicals are really bad for our environment, so bad they made laws regulating how to dispose of them.

Since 1990, it has been illegal to dispose of a refrigerator unless you have proof the dangerous chemicals have been properly removed.

You’ll have to provide an EPA form detailing how the harmful chemicals were removed before the dump employee will take it. No matter what you do, remember, these chemicals are hazardous.

Removing the Freon

We know proper fridge disposal sounds daunting. Removing the Freon on your own is an arduous task. It's complicated, specific, and it sucks. But if you’re determined then go for it. But remember since Freon causes such damage to the atmosphere you risk severe penalties if you mess it up and let it seep into the air.

Here is a brief how-to, but make sure you have a thorough understanding of what you are doing before you go down this route.

Step 1: Set up a Recovery System

Following a diagram of the refrigerator, connect the red line to the sight glass via a yellow tube and the blue line to the recovery system. The yellow tube should be connected to the recovery cylinder and the recovery cylinder to the recovery system.

Step 2:

Screw this, hire someone else to do it. It's only like $30 bucks, stop being a tightwad.

Once you’ve removed the hazardous chemicals, use a steel blade on your jigsaw, or whatever power tools you want to play with and tear the thing apart. When you're done just sort the pieces and drop off the separated materials at any recycling center.


Luckily, recycling an old fridge is not the hassle it used to be. If you play your cards right, you might even be able to get rid of it for a profit.

Some companies will give you cash to recycle an old fridge. Check with your electric company, they usually have a program that offers cash or even a credit on your next bill, plus they will come haul it off, now that's easy money.

Remember, they manufacture new energy efficient refrigerators for a reason — they're better for the environment and your wallet. Once you have a sparkling new fridge in your kitchen, send off your old one with a modern day Viking Funeral, where instead of being set on fire, it'll be torn apart and sold for scraps.

No "I" In Team

We are all tree huggers, or we should be, even if it is in a deep secret place inside of us because throwing out an old refrigerator is dangerous.And not just because of TTDs (Trash Transmitted Diseases) like Freon.There are a lot of viruses such as CRC-11, it's just foam insulation, but it emits a destructive gas and as it erodes it oozes carbon dioxide.

Besides the Herp, refrigerators have other chemicals like mercury and oil. But if you recycle the fridge you don’t have to be the one who worries about where to put all of the diseased ridden fluid. You get to comply with federal law, by making compliance someone else's problem.

Do It for the Kids

Unfortunately, some cities in the Valley charge a small fee to pick up old appliance curbside and take it to a recycling station. However, it's a small fee, just skip your mocha latte today. Do it for your kids. Or if you do a little research, you can probably find a program that will offer you a little something if you recycle. Some programs will pay as much as $50, that's a lot of lattes.


Don’t let that old fridge get you down. Call AZ Junk. It's that easy. You don’t even have to haul it to the curb, we can pick it up anywhere. We know all the rules and regulations, we have qualified and trained technicians to handle the hazardous chemicals. We have the trucks and the manpower to take care of it. We also know a lot of great places to donate and recycle that old fridge.

Call AZ Junk because life is better without junk.


Why should I recycle an old refrigerator?

Recycling is always the best use of an unwanted item. It helps reduce the amount of waste in landfills, conserves resources, and prevents the release of harmful chemicals into the environment. Plus you’re actually creating jobs and helping others save money. Recycling is always a win-win.

How do I recycle an old refrigerator?

The easiest way is to simply post in in the appropriate places for free as long as they come pick it up. There are many people these days that will gladly come get an old stove or refrigerator and either fix it up and resell it, or use it for the metal scrap. Some retailers also offer free recycling for old refrigerators when you purchase a new one.

What happens to the refrigerant in my old refrigerator during recycling?

The correct way your old refrigerant is dealt with is it’s recovered and disposed of in an environmentally safe manner. This is done by a certified technician to prevent the release of ozone-depleting chemicals into the atmosphere. But it isn’t always the case.

Are there any fees for recycling an old refrigerator?

That depends on how you choose to recycle it. Some recycling centers may charge a fee for recycling an old refrigerator, while others may offer the service for free. The cost will depend on the location and the recycling center. Again, it’s best just to list it for free and see if someone is willing to take it off your hands.

Do I need to remove the door from my old refrigerator before recycling?

Yes, you will typically need to remove the door from your old refrigerator before recycling it. This is to prevent children or any critters from getting trapped inside. Once something is trapped, the seal on the refrigerator is air tight so someone or something can easily suffocate if they do get trapped.

What should I do with the food inside my old refrigerator before recycling?

If your fridge went on the fritz and you lost all your food because of it, it’ll all need to be thrown away or recycled. Don’t leave anything, including food in your refrigerator. This helps prevent the growth of bacteria and odors during the recycling process.

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About the author
Wordpress Username: azjunk

Brad Thomason is the owner of AZ Junk Removal, a seasoned professional with decades of experience in the moving and junk removal industry. With an acute understanding of how people acquire and dispose of items, he established his company in 2001, serving the Phoenix, Arizona area with exceptional junk removal services. Throughout his career, Brad has witnessed the exponential growth of the city as new communities, businesses, and retail centers continue to develop.

Committed to offering a more personalized approach, Brad operates the company as an owner-operator, actively involved in daily operations. When you choose AZ Junk Removal to eliminate clutter, you can expect to work directly with Brad, one of his close family members, or friends. This level of customer service sets them apart from other franchised hauling companies in the Valley.

With his wealth of knowledge and commitment to providing top-notch service, going with Brad Thomason is the clear choice for all of your junk removal needs in Phoenix, Arizona.


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