While small appliances like blenders and toasters are built to last a long time, eventually you’ll look to upgrade. These products are mostly composed of metal like steel, making them pretty easy to recycle, and also something you want to keep out of a landfill.
Small Appliances Recycling Preparation
- Unplug your appliance for several days before recycling to let it cool down.
- For microwaves or other heavier appliances (e.g., breadmakers), tie up the cord using either a twist tie or the cord itself (or tape it to the unit). The last thing you want is to trip while carrying an item that may weigh 25 to 50 pounds.
- If the item is still in working condition, consider donating it to a thrift store. While it’s not required that you clean appliances before donation, it’s certainly appreciated.
- If your appliance has removable parts not made of metal (such as the tempered glass or plastic blender jar), there probably isn’t a recycling market for those. You can remove these parts prior to recycling.
Why Recycle Small Appliances
- Steel (the most recycled material in the U.S.) makes up 75 percent of the average appliance, and home appliances account for 10 percent of steel recycled in the U.S. each year
- Microwaves have computer chips in them that contain valuable metals like gold, and the power cord on electronics is made of coated copper
Frequent Small Electronics Recycling Questions
While not all electronics use lithium-ion batteries, they are common in laptops and cell phones because they are excellent at holding a charge. If you are mailing your electronic device and it’s safe to do so, you may want to remove the battery and recycle it through a Call2Recycle drop-off point instead of shipping it.
R2 (originally R2 Solutions) has been around since 2008, and focuses on certifying the recycling process, data destruction and the tracking of materials throughout the recycling process. BAN has been certifying recyclers since 2009 to ensure that no electronics are exported to non-OECD countries.
There are electronics recyclers that aren’t R2 or e-Stewards certified, but to make sure that you are recycling products responsibly, check the directories for these certified companies: R2 Recyclers and e-Stewards.
- Know When It’s Time to Replace Old Appliances: Helpful tips for knowing at what age you should buy new appliances
- Nuke Your Microwave: How (and Why) to Live Without It: While microwaves may be convenient, there are plenty of reasons to use other appliances when cooking
- Survey: Americans Miss Out on Savings from Energy Hacks: Keeping unused appliances plugged in all the time is costing you money; find out how much
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