Moving or Downsizing? Here’s What You Can Recycle to Lighten The Load

How-Tos and Advice

Moving is always challenging, especially if you’re downsizing in the process or are taking a DIY approach and forgoing a large moving truck.

Luckily, there are easy ways to dispose of some of the largest and most cumbersome items you have to make the whole process easier and smoother. The best part? You don’t have to add to a landfill in the process. There are tons of avenues for recycling everything from electronics like TVs to appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners. Many of these items do have to be taken to a certified recycling center in order to dispose of them properly, though. Plus, you’ll want to completely wipe any personal electronics like computers and tablets before dropping them off anywhere.

From recycling to donation, here’s how to go about properly discarding the items you don’t want to move.

Recycling Computers

Clunky desktop computers and heavy, older models of laptops can be difficult to transport and protect during a move, which is why people decide to get rid of them rather than hassle with moving them. Public schools, community learning centers, and nonprofit organizations can all typically put old computers to good use.

Just be sure to wipe all hard drives before recycling or donating them in order to protect your personal information from future users. Computer accessories like printers and ink cartridges can also be recycled by searching for their manufacturers' official recycling programs. Here are some resources to help:

Recycling Cell Phones and Tablets

As we regularly buy new cell phones and tablets to replace older models, it's easy for a small collection of devices to pile up at home in just a few years. It’s often only when moving time comes around that people are faced with the problem of what to do with all of their old electronics.

While simply throwing these devices away can be tempting, it's not the best choice for the environment, especially if precautions haven't been taken to delete personal data. As with computers, choosing to recycle cell phones and tablets can be a good choice for conscious consumers. There are dozens of programs that help seniors, domestic abuse victims, soldiers, and more by providing them with used mobile devices free of charge.

If your phone is no longer operational and needs to be permanently disposed of, start by looking at your city’s website for information on e-waste centers. For those devices that can still have a second life, here are a few resources for wiping and recycling them:

Recycling 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 properly discarded. Your state's energy office, local electric companies, and neighborhood junkyards can all give advice on recycling these major appliances.

If you want to save money when it comes to buying replacements, research manufacturers that offer incentives to trade in your old appliances for newer ones. Stoves, ovens, and washers and dryers can all be donated to a variety of nonprofit organizations including animal rescue groups, homeless shelters, and soup kitchens. Just do a little research to see what’s available in your town. Here’s some information to help:

Recycling TVs and Small Appliances

As high-definition TV channels have become the new norm, it’s easy to understand why moving is the best time to ditch an old TV and upgrade to a new one in the process. Getting rid of old TVs isn't as easy as it seems. Many 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 recycle your TV. You might also have luck contacting your TV's manufacturer. Several companies offer disposal programs likeSony, Panasonic, LG, Toshiba, Sharp, and Samsung. Smaller appliances, like kitchen appliances, can often find new homes through garage sales or listing them online. Here’s more information to help:

Donating Old Appliances and Gadgets

Donating your devices and appliances to worthy causes is another way to keep your electronics out of the landfill and in good hands instead. In addition to helping those in need, donations can also be tax-deductible as long as you select an approved recycling organization and obtain receipts to use when tax time comes around.

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 might 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 cure various diseases and disorders.

Want to learn more about donation? Here’s where to start:

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