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How to Recycle a Chest Freezer

Michelle Brunet

If your chest freezer has reached the end of its life, recycling will make a difference in terms of sustainability. According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, it takes four times less energy to recycle steel from "white goods," such as chest freezers, than to manufacture steel from scratch. You cannot simply put your chest freezer out on the curb for recycling pickup, however. Models made prior to 2000 probably contain mercury, and those manufactured prior to 1979 contain PCBs, states the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. By following specific guidelines, you can recycle your chest freezer in the most eco-friendly way possible.

When you recycle your chest freezer, almost all components will be reused.
  1. Contact your city/town hall, municipal public works office, municipal waste management or local sanitary commission to find out what the specific recycling policies for chest freezers and other "white goods" are for your region. In some areas, the municipality will arrange for a free pickup/recycling service, whereas others will charge a fee. In some cases, you may be required to make an appointment with a refrigerant recovery technician.

  2. Call the Appliance Recycling Information Center, toll-free across the United States, at 800-YES-1-CAN, if you are not able to get the proper information from your municipality.

  3. Join a Freecycle Network if your chest freezer is still working and you want to advertise the opportunity for someone to reuse your appliance for free.

  4. Donate your chest freezer, if it is still in good working condition, to a community organization, such as a soup kitchen, breakfast club or shelter.