Hazards

  • Appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners and dehumidifiers contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), a substance that when released, reacts with ozone in the upper atmosphere, reducing this layer's protective properties against ultraviolet radiation.

Handling

  • Handle in a way that does not damage coils containing refrigerants.
  • Under federal law, CFCs must be removed before the appliance can be discarded.

Management Options

  • White goods - large appliances including ovens, washing machines and refrigerators - are banned from disposal in Massachusetts. All appliances using CFCs are included in this ban.
  • If an appliance is still functioning, call your electric company to see if they have a take-back program for high-demand appliances.
  • Most appliance dealers will remove old, unwanted appliances for free or at a small cost when delivering new appliances purchased from them.
  • Check Reuse Marketplace or an online search engine such as Google or Bing for freon-removal companies and/or scrap-metal dealers that accept white goods. Ask for certification that CFCs are removed according to EPA protocol. CFCs must also be removed from car air conditioners before they can be scrapped.
  • A number of Massachusetts companies accept CFC-containing appliances for recycling. Use an online search engine such as Google or Bing to find one in your area. Fees can vary widely, so it is a good idea to do some comparison shopping.