When replacing your household appliances, your first impulse may be to send these old devices to the landfill for disposal. However, by choosing this option, you may end up losing out in more ways than one. Instead, consider bringing these “white goods” to your local, full-service recycling center. By doing so, you’ll make money for your scrap metal and avoid adding more waste materials to the ever-growing pile.

Defining White Goods

White goods get their name for a simple reason. At one point in time, most major household appliances were sold exclusively in a white enamel finish. That situation has changed, and you can now find appliances in this category in a vast range of colors. Nevertheless, the original name has stuck in the appliance and recycling industries. Recyclers have expanded the white goods category even further. In this industry, the term also covers such items as:

  • Bicycles
  • Some auto parts
  • Weight benches
  • Lawnmowers
  • Light-duty metal shelves

These items are grouped together because they contain ferrous metals. Metals in the ferrous class contain iron, steel or some combination of the two. They stand in contrast to non-ferrous metals, which don’t contain iron or steel. You can identify ferrous materials because they react to the pull of magnets.

Impact of Putting These Goods in a Landfill

Unfortunately, landfills are the ultimate destination for most white goods. In fact, hundreds of tons of these goods end up in U.S. dumps every year. Also, the presence of white goods can lead to some severe problems in the typical landfill.

First, they’re big and require large amounts of room for disposal. But there’s also a much more serious potential consequence of not recycling your outdated white goods. Older major appliances may contain the dangerous pollutant mercury. Over time, this mercury can pass from a landfill to the underlying groundwater. If such a situation occurs, mercury may eventually enter our water and food supply chains. To make matters worse, your discarded white goods may also contain other harmful chemicals. A short list of these chemical includes asbestos, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Financial Benefits of Recycling

White goods are an excellent source of scrap metal. However, please note that ferrous materials don’t bring as much money as those made from non-ferrous materials. In fact, many recycling centers make payments for ferrous metals in 100-pound increments. Compare this to the per-pound prices offered for non-ferrous metals.

The low pound-for-pound return on ferrous materials is offset to a certain degree by the sheer bulk of white goods. Many major appliances are fairly heavy. This means that they quite often weigh more per unit than soda cans and other non-ferrous materials. And higher weight translates into a higher financial payoff. The time you spend recycling an old refrigerator or dishwasher can be well worth the effort from a money-making standpoint.

Environmental Benefits of Recycling

Of course, financial gain is not the only motivation for recycling your white goods. By keeping these goods out of the landfill, you help cut down on society’s staggering burden of trash. You also act as a good steward by helping to keep hazardous chemicals out of the environment.

Recycling for Households and Businesses

In addition to accommodating the one-off needs of householders, today’s full-service recycling centers also accommodate businesses of all sizes. Need to drop off just a couple of items for scrap? Your local recyclers will have no problem accepting your white goods. Own a business that generates large volumes of scrap? Chances are, you’ll find a center in your area with dedicated facilities for large-scale recycling. The best recycling outfits will make the process much easier by:

  • Offering bins of all sizes for the collection of goods at your location
  • Offering pickup services when your bins are full and ready to go

Depending on the scale of your operation, recycled white goods may add a significant amount of cash to your income stream.

Are white goods a good source of scrap metal? The answer to that question is undoubtedly yes. By recycling these materials, you can help improve your personal or business bottom line. What’s more, you can help protect the environment and safeguard the health of your community. Need more information on white goods recycling? Just call your local recycling professionals at Ecology. Our centers pay top-dollar for your scrap. Also, visit centers that make special provisions for large-scale recyclers.