Washers and dryers are largely made from steel, which qualifies them for recycling, but you can't just toss them in your blue bin. Appliance recycling is done separately from household waste because appliances are not made entirely of one material. Instead, each appliance must be disassembled into its constituent parts, divided by material, then recycled in several different waste streams. Luckily, there are many enterprises, both private and public, that will take your washer and dryer off your hands and do all of the work for you.
Contact your utility company to see if they offer a "Cash for Appliances" program. If they do, not only will you get a rebate for replacing your old washer and dryer with newer, energy-efficient models, but you may get free curbside pickup, too.
Donate your old washer and dryer if they are still in good working order. Look for charities that would have laundry facilities, such as homeless shelters or women's shelters. Local daycares and similar small businesses might also welcome the donation of your old set. If your washer and dryer no longer work, donate them to a repair shop that may be able to strip them for parts and recycle the leftovers for you.
Ask the store that sold you your new washer and dryer if it offers a recycling program. Many companies will pick up your old set when they deliver your new set, although some may charge a fee for the service.
Contact your local solid waste authority to ask if your city offers curbside appliance recycling. Most communities with curbside recycling programs will take large appliances on designated days.
Find steel recyclers in your area — use print or online phone books — as a last resort. Some companies will take appliances, but you may have to transport them to the recycling facility yourself.
- Check the requirements of whichever recycling program you choose. Some take the washer and dryer intact, while others may require that you remove electrical cords and other accessories.
- Don't assume that a haul-away program is necessarily a recycling program. When you contact your utility company, retailer or solid waste authority, ask if the appliances will be recycled after they are hauled away.
Angela Brady has been writing since 1997. Currently transitioning to a research career in oncolytic virology, she has won awards for her work related to genomics, proteomics, and biotechnology. She is also an authority on sustainable design, having studied, practiced and written extensively on the subject.