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Don’t Give Second-Hand Appliances Another Run

Unfortunately, many second-hand, unsafe appliances get a new life in another home, but that recycled appliance could cause a fire or electrical shock.

Safe Electricity warns people to never attempt to use a malfunctioning or previously discarded electric appliance, and to beware of old appliances sold in flea markets and garage sales. Such appliances may pose a fire or electrocution hazard, and may be no ‘bargain’ in the long run.

Managing the disposal of electrical appliances that wear out, become obsolete or damaged can be a challenge, but there are safe disposal alternatives.

Take advantage of local recycling opportunities. Before throwing away electronics, check on programs that collect and repair unwanted phones and computers for contribution to charitable organizations and schools. Many communities sponsor collection events that accept electronic appliances. However, be aware that state and federal laws govern the disposal of many electrical appliances. Many electronics have parts that contain hazardous materials, and in most states, landfills restrict the appliances they accept unless banned materials and components are first professionally removed.

Safe Electricity offers these additional guidelines for safe appliance disposal:

  • Have a qualified professional remove banned materials from old appliances. For assistance, contact your local public works department or appliance service provider.
  • After removal of unsafe materials and components, consider having the old appliance taken to a scrap yard where the metal can be salvaged for recycling.
  • Never leave or store an unused or damaged appliance in an open, unsecured area. Discarded appliances are a safety hazard, especially for children.
  • Before disposal, remove electrical cords from damaged items so not recycled and reused by someone else.
  • If larger household items, such as washers, dryers, stoves and refrigerators, need to be replaced, have the dealer remove the old appliance.

When replacing appliances and electronics, consider energy efficient models and ensure they have been safety-tested and include the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label.