Apartment and Condo Recycling Guide

Written by Brian Enright

Moving out of a lived-in apartment can present its fair share of challenges, especially if you intend to relocate to a place with less space or don't have a moving truck to facilitate the transportation of your largest possessions. Luckily, there are easy ways to dispose of your old electronics and appliances so that you don't have to worry about moving them while you are busy organizing your new home. There are, however, certain considerations that you may have to keep in mind while dispatching your possessions; for example, many electronics and appliances, including TVs, refrigerators, and air conditioners, contain materials that need to be handled with care or taken to a certified recycling center for proper disposal. Personal items, like computers, cell phones, and tablets, should be prepped and have their hard drives wiped before they're recycled or given away. Donating electronics and appliances is also a viable option for owners who want to guarantee that their former possessions will provide comfort, security, and even luxury to those who are disadvantaged.

Computers

Clunky desktop computers and heavy, older models of laptops can be difficult to transport and protect during a move, which is why many renters decide to recycle them rather than welcome them into their new homes. Public schools, community learning centers, and nonprofit organizations dedicated to introducing disadvantaged groups to technology can typically put old computers to good use. Owners of Macs and PCs should take care to wipe their hard drives before recycling them in order to protect personal information from being made available to future users. Peripherals and associated computer equipment, like printers and ink cartridges, can also be recycled by searching for their manufacturers' official recycling programs.

Cell Phones and Tablets

Consumers regularly buy new cell phones and tablets to replace obsolete models, and it's easy for a small collection of these devices to pile up in a home within just a few years. When moving, renters are often faced with the problem of what to do with them. While throwing these devices away can be tempting, it's not the most environmentally sound or safest option, especially if precautions haven't been taken to delete personal data. As with computers, choosing to recycle cell phones and tablets can be a smart choice for the conscientious consumer, as there are dozens of programs that help seniors, domestic abuse victims, and soldiers have a much-needed line to the outside world by providing them with used mobile devices free of charge. If your phone is no longer operational and needs to be permanently disposed of, access your city's official website for information on local e-waste centers.

Major Appliances

Since refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners harbor potentially toxic refrigerants, industrial oils, and other elements that are regulated by law, they have to be responsibly handled and disposed of when the time comes for you to move. Your state's energy office, local electric company, and neighborhood scrap metal junkyard can give you tips on how to handle these major appliances and where to take them for recycling. If you want to save money while upgrading your appliances, research manufacturers that offer incentives to trade in your appliances for newer ones. Stoves, ovens, and washers and dryers can be donated to a variety of nonprofit organizations, including animal rescue groups, homeless shelters, and soup kitchens.

If your major appliances are beyond repair, consider tapping into your imagination for ideas about how to recycle them on your apartment's property. For example, with a little maneuvering and modification, you may be able to turn an old dryer into a bountiful flower bed or a striking display case. Should your appliances still have a few years worth left of functionality, think about transferring ownership of them to someone in need. Washers and dryers in your neighbors' apartments, for instance, can simply the lives of renters who would otherwise have to haul their clothes to laundry facilities.

TVs and Small Appliances

With high-definition TV channels becoming the norm in media consumption, it can be easy to understand why renters would want to leave their analog TVs behind. Getting rid of these TVs, however, isn't as easy as it seems: Old TVs contain lead and other hazardous materials that can complicate the disposal process. Rather than dumping your TV in a landfill where its presence could potentially contaminate water supplies, consult with local waste management organizations to find out how you can recycle your TV. You may also have luck contacting your TV's manufacturer: Companies that offer disposal programs include Sony, Panasonic, LG, Toshiba, Sharp, and Samsung. Smaller appliances, like kitchen instruments, can find new homes after being showcased in garage sales or listed on eBay.

Donation

Donation to worthy causes or organizations can be another positive way to recycle your electronics and appliances. As an added benefit of improving the lives of those in need, donations may be tax-deductible, assuming that you choose your appliances wisely, select an approved recycling organization, and obtain receipts to use as proof while doing your taxes. While well-known charities like Habitat for Humanity and Goodwill can use your donated items to help provide shelter and aid to the disadvantaged, you may also be able to support specific causes by finding an organization that uses the proceeds from donation sales to fund their research. For example, many popular medical associations accept donations of appliances and, after a successful sale, add the funds to their efforts to find a cures for perplexing diseases and disorders.

Written by Brian Enright