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  • Writer's pictureNancy Adkins

Our Landfills Are Overflowing with Appliances – Here's How You Can Make a Difference

Doc Danielson Appliance Repair and Care: Our Landfills Are Overflowing with Appliances – Here's How You Can Make a Difference

Practical tips for maintaining your appliances and innovative recycling ideas to give old appliances a new lease on life.

In today's fast-paced world, large home appliances often end up in landfills far too soon. In the US alone, around 9 million refrigerators are discarded annually, contributing to environmental pollution and resource waste. By taking steps to maintain and extend the life of our appliances, we can reduce this waste. Additionally, when an appliance does reach the end of its useful life, there are many creative ways to recycle and repurpose it. In this blog, we'll explore things we can do to stop the constant flow of old appliances that are dumped into landfills. These landfills often spill chemicals into our water supply and poison those of living here. Making a difference is something we all can do one action at a time.

What is Cost of Staying on the Appliance Replacement Wheel?

Just like a Merry Go Round, we go round and round! We are now stuck replacing appliances regularly! Just a generation ago, appliances often lasted up to 40 years, but today, we replace refrigerators and washers every 4-5 years, if not sooner. Growing up in the appliance business, I've been frustrated by this shift in my lifetime. Sixteen years ago, we began maintaining all our appliances, recognizing the true cost of frequent replacements. It's more than just financial—it impacts our environment, costing us clean water, beautiful landscapes, and clean air. It costs us our children's health, as the next generation faces deteriorating conditions. It costs us our sanity when we see the impact of neglect and inaction. Understanding that there is a more sustainable way to handle our appliances is crucial for preserving our world.

Frequent appliance replacement is fueled by multiple factors, each perpetuating the cycle of waste:

Here are some reasons our appliances are breaking more quickly than ever and actions we can take to stop the Appliance Replacement Wheel.

  1. Planned Obsolescence: Manufacturers sometimes design appliances with a limited lifespan, encouraging consumers to replace rather than repair. Additionally, parts are often taken out of production, further pushing consumers to buy new appliances.

  2. Technological Advancements: Rapid advancements in technology often make older appliances seem outdated, prompting consumers to upgrade for the latest features and energy efficiency. As Doc used to say, "Buy basic appliances; the more features they have, the more parts there are to break.

  3. Proper Use and Maintenance: To have appliances we can depend on, it takes proper use and maintenance. This includes using appliances according to the manufacturer's instructions to prevent unnecessary wear and tear. Regular cleaning is essential to keep appliances running efficiently; for example, cleaning refrigerator coils, replacing worn door seals, and clearing lint traps in dryers. Performing routine inspections and addressing minor issues promptly can prevent more significant problems down the line. By investing time in proper care, you can extend the lifespan of your appliances, ensuring they remain reliable and efficient for years to come.

  4. Use Less Detergent: It's important to use the right amount of detergent in your washers and dishwashers. Overusing detergent can cause buildup, reduce efficiency, and potentially damage the appliance. Following the manufacturer's guidelines for detergent use can help maintain the performance and longevity of your appliances, saving you money and reducing environmental impact.

  5. Teach Our Kids: Teaching our kids how to properly use and maintain appliances is crucial. By involving them in regular maintenance tasks and educating them on the correct way to use each appliance, we can instill good habits that will help extend the life of these machines. This not only ensures the appliances remain in good working condition but also fosters a sense of responsibility and sustainability in the next generation.

What to Do When It's Time to Replace One of Your Appliances

As much as we want to protect our future and keep our appliances working great, sometimes it’s time to replace them. When that moment comes, it’s important to handle your old appliances responsibly. Here are some ideas for what to do with your old appliances.

  • Donate If Still Functional: If your appliance is still in working condition, consider donating it to local charities, schools, or community centers, as this helps others and reduces waste. Check out local Freecycle groups or online community boards where you can give away your old appliance to someone in need. Additionally, use platforms like Facebook Marketplace to find someone who can benefit from your working appliance.

  • Donate Even If Not Working: Some non-profit organizations accept non-working appliances, as they may repair them for resale or use the parts for other purposes. Additionally, local appliance repair schools often need units to teach the next generation of appliance technicians. Donating your non-working appliance can support educational programs and provide valuable hands-on learning opportunities.

  • Sell or Give Away: Use platforms like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or Offer Up to sell or give away your appliance. Additionally, apps like Nextdoor can connect you with neighbors who might be interested in your old appliance.

  • Recycling Programs: Utilize local recycling programs or e-waste centers that can safely dismantle and recycle your old appliance’s components. Many cities also have bulk pickup days or special programs for recycling large appliances, so be sure to check your local government’s website for details.

  • Manufacturer Take-Back Programs: Some manufacturers and retailers offer take-back programs when you purchase a new appliance, often recycling or repurposing the old unit responsibly. Additionally, look for trade-in programs that offer discounts on new purchases when you return your old appliance.

  • Creative Repurposing: Old appliances can be repurposed into unique DIY projects. For example, a washing machine drum can be turned into a fire pit or planter. Use parts from old appliances to create art pieces or functional furniture, adding a unique touch to your home or garden.

  • Responsible Disposal: Ensure that any hazardous materials, such as refrigerants in old fridges, are disposed of properly, as professional recycling centers are equipped to handle these safely. Avoid illegal dumping and ensure your old appliances are disposed of through proper channels to minimize environmental impact.

Never fear, the "Doc" is near! We make maintaining your fridge a snap, giving you the absolute best possibility of this NOT happening to you. From the ice maker not cooperating at the worst time—in the middle of a Texas summer—to your schizophrenic refrigerator section that keeps freezing everything, to the evil water dispenser that won't deliver cold filtered water when you're about to die of thirst, we got your back. Drop us a line and let us "write a prescription" that will cure your refrigerator ills.

Refrigerator maintenance includes the following services:

- Vacuuming and cleaning behind and underneath your fridge

- Thorough cleaning of the condensing coil, fan, motor, and drip pan if accessible

- Inspecting connections, motor, fan, water lines, checking for drain plugs, etc.

- Diagnosing any minor issues (some issues may incur a return trip with a qualified service technician)

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