Why Recycle Your Old Cooling Appliances?

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When you want to get rid of your cooling home appliances, recycling them responsibly is key to protecting the environment. Each year in Quebec, it is estimated that over 300,000 appliances are recycled without proper handling, which is equivalent to 100,000 extra drivers on Quebec’s roads.

Appliance recycling is more critical than ever, whether it is a fridge, freezer, air conditioner, wine cooler, water cooler, or dehumidifier.

First, we will look at the negative impacts of not recycling cooling appliances; then, we will address the benefits of responsible recycling, and the options available to you.

The adverse impacts of not recycling your used cooling household appliances

A cooling appliance generates on average a ton of greenhouse gases (GHG) if it is not recycled responsibly. These appliances actually contain halocarbons, which are considerable greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

What are the impacts of greenhouse gases (GHG)?

Greenhouse gas emissions have adverse effects on the environment, human health and the economy.

Below are some negative impacts of an increase in greenhouse gases (GHG) according to the Government of Canada:

  • A rise in average annual temperatures
  • Rising sea levels and increased flooding
  • Coastal erosion
  • An increase in heat waves resulting in forest fires
  • Increased risk of death from dehydration and heat stroke
  • Greater risk of respiratory and cardiovascular problems and cancers due to air pollution
  • Heightened levels of anxiety and depression in some individuals
  • Negative effects on the agriculture, forestry, tourism and recreation industries
  • Economic stress on health and social support systems
  • etc.

Key figures on the impact of recycling cooling household appliances

More specifically, what are the impacts of not recycling a cooling appliance responsibly by disposing of it on the side of the road?

Below are a few statistics and key figures for comparison purposes:

Frigo au chemin

Recycling a refrigerator is equivalent to:

  • Using a reusable coffee cup 13,870 times
  • A car travelling 4,500 km, i.e., a distance greater than Montreal to Banff
  • Driving 1,850 km in a truck, as if 42 people were moving from Ahuntsic to St-Jérôme
  • Riding 1,000 km in a big rig
  • 488 bus rides to work
  • Buying 62 pairs of jeans, i.e., one pair per year from 18 to 80 years old
  • Laundering clothes 96,618 times in hot water
  • Eating 138 beef meals

Recycling a freezer is equivalent to:

Recycling an air conditioner is equivalent to:

Recycling a wine cooler is equivalent to:

Recycling a dehumidifier is equivalent to:

The benefits of recycling cooling appliances

Through responsible recycling of a cooling household appliance (fridge, freezer, wine cooler and water cooler) or an air conditioning unit (portable air conditioner, window AC unit and dehumidifier), over 95% of materials from the appliance are recovered.

Recycled components

Through proper and responsible recycling of cooling household appliances, a lot of components that are harmful to the environment can be removed and recycled, such as:

  • Refrigerant gases
  • Oils
  • The compressor and certain pipes
  • Gases contained in the insulating foam (for refrigerators, freezers and wine coolers)
  • All the other parts of the appliance (to separate materials and enable the recycling of metals, for example)

How to get rid of an old appliance in an eco-friendly way?

You are now convinced that recycling your old appliance is the right thing to do? You have two options:

A. Find a GoRecycle drop-off location near you

Over 300 GoRecycle drop-off locations, including eco-centres, recycling centres and sorting centres, are available in Quebec to ensure your refrigerator is recycled responsibly. You are encouraged to find the appliance recycling location near you.

B. Take advantage free pickup and recycling of your old fridge when purchasing a new one

Over 100 retailers offer a free removal and recycling service for your old fridge with the purchase of a new one. We recommend you search the directory of participating retailers before going ahead with your purchase.


So, now you see why it is imperative not to throw your old cooling appliances to the curb because of their adverse impacts on the environment, human health and the economy.

We all stand to gain from being part of the solution by recycling our appliances responsibly through the 300 GoRecycle drop-off locations, or by taking advantage of the free pickup and recycling service for your old fridge when purchasing a new one. Let’s go, recycle the right way!

About GoRecycle

GoRecycle is the only organization recognized by RECYC-QUÉBEC that ensures the responsible recycling of cooling appliances in Quebec. We recycle refrigerators, air conditioners, freezers, wine coolers, dehumidifiers and water coolers through over 300 drop-off points in Quebec, and over 100 banner pickup partners with the purchase of a new fridge. GoRecycle is a non-profit organization (NPO).