Machines are made to make work easier. For almost as long as humans have existed, they have created machines to help them live more comfortably. But machines can seem to take over when we don’t dispose of them properly once they can no longer be used.
How many machines do you have in your home? If you do laundry, cooking, or cleaning, you spend time with the clothes washer and dryer, the refrigerator, the stove, and the dishwasher. Then there’s the hot water heater that provides warm water, the furnace that keeps us warm in winter, and the air conditioner that keeps us cool in the summer. All of these large appliances are machines that are very important in our daily lives, but what happens when one of them is too old to work well or quits working completely?
When it’s time to replace an older appliance that still works, there are many organizations that will accept it as a donation to help someone less fortunate. Some of them will even haul old appliances away for free! Or, you may also choose to sell the old appliances to someone. If the machine is no longer working, parts can be recycled in many different ways. The steel can be recycled and used to make new products, of course, but some really creative folks are putting old appliance parts to fun uses. For example, you can bury the inside tub of a washing machine up to the rim to make a great fire pit out in the back yard. Old appliance parts can be used to make interesting artwork, too! (See E-waste inspires an artist!)
There are LOTS of machines to make our lives easier, but we need to take care not to waste the materials in them, or they just may “take over the world” by filling up our landfill space. Please seek a way for your old appliances to be reused or recycled. If they must be disposed, contact your local solid waste authority for instructions in your community.
The next time you reach into the refrigerator for a yogurt or fold the laundry, remember that your hard-working machines make life a lot easier. But when they are finished doing their jobs, dispose of them properly. For more information, check out Aging Appliances?, Repurposing for Good at the ReStore, or Earth 911’s guide to recycling large appliances.
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