Recycling White GoodsWhen it’s time to upgrade your larger appliances such as washers and dryers, there are several things you should consider when making your recycling choice. It’s nice to have options, but with those options also comes responsibility. If I drop my old washing machine off at a recycling center, what happens to it? Does it end up in another country, wasting away in a landfill? Is it gutted and used for parts? The EPA has partnered with quite a few companies to form the Responsible Appliance Disposal program (RAD), but RAD only deals with items containing refrigerant, so only freezers and refrigerators are covered there. So, what happens to those other white goods? This information isn’t easy to find. While many towns offer some sort of recycling program for white goods, what the city does with them once they have them is unclear. Chippendale, a city in Australia, offers free curbside recycling for white goods, and it even tells its residents what will happen to their recycled items. The city’s website encourages residents to consider reuse before recycling their white goods. The city states: “White goods are taken away for metal recycling and used to make products like steel cans.” But does this happen at the majority of the recycling centers out there? A New York Times article from 2004 explains what happens to white goods in New York. While this information may be a little dated, it’s some of the most complete information you can find in this search. In New York, some white goods are rebuilt and sold out of the country, and the rest are shredded and rolled into balls. The scraps are used for new creations. Since most white goods are primarily steel, the steel can be recycled and remade. A practical way to find out what will happen to your white goods is to simply ask. Recycling programs in different cities will have different ways of dealing with recycling white goods. Before you hand over your old washing machine, ask where it’s going. If your appliances are still in decent, working condition, you could sell them or donate them to a charity. That way, you’d know exactly what happened to your old appliances. Some large appliances can be repurposed in your own home. Check out these interesting alternative uses for white goods. You may want to turn your old dryer into a compost bin, or revamp your old refrigerator into a flowerbed or root cellar. Or, maybe you’d like to make your old washing machine drum into a nifty new lamp. What has been your experience with white goods and their afterlife? Do you know how your community recycles these bulky items? We would love to hear from you!