How do I dispose of a broken humidifier? The answer will depend on everything from the type of dehumidifier to its size. We’ll answer all of your questions here and explain where you can find your own answers when necessary.
How Do I Dispose of a Small, Broken Humidifier?
A small broken humidifier is just another broken little appliance.
You could toss it in the trash or have it picked up by an appliance recycler. If it is small enough to fit in the trash bin with everything else, you won’t have to pay for it to be disposed of.
Otherwise, you’re left finding the few places left you can dispose of it.
Can I Put a Broken Humidifier in the Dumpster?
You aren’t supposed to put items in a dumpster if you don’t live in the building the dumpster is intended to serve. If you live in a building with a dumpster or have a rented dumpster, they may explicitly prohibit wet paint, oils, electronics, tires, and other items.
The typical small humidifier can go into the dumpster, but a dehumidifier can’t because of the CFCs and other refrigerants inside of them.
If the humidifier has a fluorescent light bulb in it, take that out and recycle it properly before tossing it in the trash.
The LED and CFL light bulb counts as hazardous waste in and of itself and shouldn’t go in the landfill.
Can I Put the Broken Humidifier in the Recycling Bin?
No, don’t put an appliance like a humidifier in the recycling bin. The curbside recycling program isn’t able to handle small electronics. They’re only qualified to handle glass, plastic, paper, and a few other materials.
The printed circuit boards and other components will contaminate the items in the recycling load, rendering them un-recyclable. This is why humidifiers and appliances should only go somewhere that specializes in the recycling of electronics.
These firms will know how to break down the humidifier and recycle everything from the light bulbs to the circuit cards to the metal in the frame.
How Do I Dispose of a Large Broken Humidifier?
A large broken humidifier is a big appliance. It will need to be picked up by a waste management company that can handle it. It could go to the curb when your municipal trash service takes other appliances like refrigerators and microwaves.
Or you could arrange for it to be picked up by an appliance recycler. Contact the local public works office to find out what they recommend.
You may have to pay for them to pick it up.
Conversely, your utility company might give you a rebate or bounty for recycling it. Or you just put it out with the bulk waste collection on the assigned date and let them haul it off.
They’ll either recycle the parts that can be recycled and dispose of the rest or carefully break it down and recycle everything inside of it.
Note that your jurisdiction may have limits on how much you can send off to the bulk recycling program.
If this is true in your case, ship off any other broken appliances you have along with the broken humidifier. For example, this is a great time to get rid of that old, dead TV in the back room if they’ll take that, too.
Why Would Recyclers Take a Large Broken Humidifier?
About three-quarters of the weight of the average appliance is steel. And steel is the most recycled material in the U.S. Home appliances account for ten percent of the steel recycled in the United States.
The copper in the power cords is made of copper, another metal they can recycle. In short, they’re taking it for the metal. Light bulbs and circuit cards are harder to recycle and may just be thrown out.
Can I Take the Humidifier to a Retailer to Recycle It?
If the appliance works, you might be able to trade it in toward the cost of a new unit. Then they’ll dispose of it. They generally won’t take a small appliance otherwise unless it is a piece of electronics they can refurbish and resell.
For example, smartphone memory cards and laptop batteries can be reused elsewhere almost as-is. Inkjet cartridges can be refilled and sold for less but still be profitable. A repaired and refurbished humidifier, though, isn’t worth it to them.
Therefore, they won’t take it working or not unless it is like trading in your junker car as part of the deal to sell you a new one.
Can I Donate a Humidifier to Get Rid of It?
If the humidifier works and doesn’t pose a health hazard due to mold growing in it, you could donate it to a charity. They could then sell it through their thrift stores to raise money for the charity.
They could give it to someone with respiratory problems. Or they could send it off to a recycler in return for a small incentive. However, you should find out if the charity accepts appliances like these before giving it to them.
Some charities will even send a truck out to pick up that appliance along with other items, though many won’t accept it due to the associated health risks.
Habitat for Humanity is one of the few organizations likely to take a large humidifier or dehumidifier if it is in working condition. Even then, you need to call them rather than drive over and drop it off.
How Do I Dispose of a Humidifier-Dehumidifier Combo?
A humidifier is a small appliance. It could simply blow a steady stream of air across the water before sending the moisture-rich air into the rest of the room. If you have a dual humidifier/dehumidifier or dehumidifier-humidifier combo, the dehumidifier poses a disposal problem whether or not it is built into the HVAC system.
The chiller coil inside the dehumidifier contains refrigerants that have to be specially disposed of. You’ll have to find out if the local hazardous waste disposal facility will take it. You might be able to arrange for them to pick it up, or you may have to take it to them.
You might be able to get the local sanitation office to do a special pickup so they can remove the refrigerant from it before disposing of it like any other major appliance.