Last week I needed to throw out an old refrigerator--a complicated task as anyone who's tried it lately knows. Before you can leave it on the street, you must remove the doors, for safety. Screws are by no means easy to loosen.
But I managed, and neatly arranged the doors with stray bits even more neatly taped, and we posted as inviting a sign as possible asking people to take it away--it worked perfectly! No bites.
So we looked for a local recycling site--and this being Jamaica Plain, there was a local guy who does nothing but recycle cooling equipment, trying to find needy takers and hauling it to the proper disposal site if not.
I was particularly pleased when he told me that the small, but neat, fridge was just what a friend had in mind. It was repurposing, not recycling: into a "kegerator." News to me--but not to our Max Fisher, who reports many a happy kegerator party, generally from sensibly scaled dorm fridges rather than the full-service kegerator ours is apparently destined for.
Here, in case you've decided this is just what you've needed for summer entertaining, are do-it-yourself instructions. And here's a list of recycling resources compiled by our Eleanor Barkhorn. Maybe you can find the raw material for your very own kegerator through one of these services--or maybe, following a link Max found and right in the Oakland/Oxford/Jamaica Plain spirit, you'll make art instead.
• EPA has a page devoted to the environmental hazards of refrigerator disposal and how to get rid of one safely.
• EnergyStar explains why it's good to recycle refrigerators, and also has a video showing the recycling process.
• Pacific Gas and Electric offers up to a $35 rebate to customers who recycle fridges, freezers, and AC units.
• JACO facilitates appliance recycling throughout the West but does not seem to offer services in the Northeast corridor.
• If you live in New York City, city officials will recycle your fridge for you, even ensuring safe recovery of CFCs.
• Last fall, the Department of Energy encouraged recycling with an exhibit of old refrigerators made into art.