You can donate used appliances to various places. Thrift stores sell used products at prices that are lower than the price of new products, so consumers with lower budgets can afford them. Services are also available that distribute products to those who need them, such as distributing appliances to the blind. Donation services can also take broken appliances and repair or recondition them. Even if the repairs cost more money than the selling value of the product, repairing these appliances reduces waste.
Some appliances are too heavily damaged to be used for their original purposes. In this case, those who receive the broken appliances can disassemble them for parts. These parts can then be sold to various manufacturers for a profit. This process reduces waste. Appliance repair shops often take scraps and use them to repair other appliances.
As appliances become more efficient, governmental agencies want to replace old and less efficient appliances with newer, more efficient appliances. Those with old appliances can participate in a cash-for-appliances rebate program in which the government gives appliance owners money in exchange for upgrading their appliances. However, consumers still need to find something to do with the old appliance. You can try to sell the appliance yourself and make a profit. You can sell the appliance through a personal ads service or you can sell your appliance to a retailer that sells used and refurbished appliances.
With some old appliances, you can store the appliance and only use it on some occasions. For example, you can use an old microwave if you have guests coming over for dinner and need to use two microwaves simultaneously to cook all the food faster.
If you cannot find something to do with your appliance, you can simply put the appliance out on your curb and have the city haul it away. Someone might come along and grab your appliance for parts or to use the appliance herself. Otherwise, the appliance will likely go to a landfill. However, when disposing or recycling appliances, you must take into consideration that appliances have parts that might be hazardous to the environment. Refrigerants can contribute to ozone depletion, and so can some refrigerator insulation foam. Also, some appliances might have hazardous substances, such as mercury, that can contaminate the environment.