How Do I Dispose of Something with Freon in it?
Freon is the copyright name of a range of chlorofluorocarbons or chlorodifluoromethane used for a generation to cool refrigerators, freezers, homes, and automobiles.
The discovery that these chemicals depleted of protective layers around the earth led to their widespread phase-out, intended to become a full ban in 2020.
Many of us became aware of it only as our various mechanics and repair specialists told us we would have to replace our systems, or flush them and replace them with different coolants.
In some cases, replacing the refrigerant is not an option.
What do I do with my old appliance that uses Freon?
The good news is, if your appliance is still in good working order, there is no need to make an expensive repair or purchase. The phase-out allows for these systems to be replaced over time.
The bad news is, at some point your system will stop being cold. Your repair person will tell you that they cannot purchase or recharge the Freon because it simply is not available.
(And if they offer you black market Freon, you need to know that it is a violation of federal law to purchase or use it. Say no.)
You will have to transition to a new coolant, or to a new system.
Transitioning to a new coolant
In the best case scenario, your existing appliance will be able to be upgraded with a new coolant. The properly trained technician can safely drain the old coolant and they will handle the disposal. This disposal might show up as an additional charge on your bill, but consider it just part of the cost of the transition.
This repair should be done by someone who can demonstrate but they were trained according to EPA Section 608. This is the law that regulates the US compliance with the Kyoto and Montreal protocols that created these phase-outs.
Now you know that the material will be safely disposed of.
A new coolant will be injected and your system should be back to normal in no time.
Disposing of an old appliance
In some cases they won’t be able to change coolant and you will have to dispose of your appliance. The same laws that phased out Freon also mean that you can’t simply put that item at the curb or in your Bid Daddy Dumpster.
You still have options.
First, you could purchase a new appliance. In most cases, the same store that sold you the new appliance will for a reasonable fee dispose of the old one. In most cases this is the simplest and most economical choice.
Second, you could research your local regulations for dealing with Freon and drop your item off. This might mean loading the appliance into your pick-up truck and taking it to a specialized location (perhaps one that is near or attached to your local dump.) This site will have its own protocol for proper disposal of the Freon and it will likely have additional uses for the remaining parts.