6 Responsible Ways to Dispose or Recycle an Air Conditioner


Have you got an old air conditioning unit knocking around your home or yard? Then you’ll find 6 ways you can dispose of or recycle it in this article.

Here’s how you can responsibly dispose or recycle an air conditioner

  1. Send it to a qualified scrap yard
  2. Contact your local sanitation department
  3. Take it through a rebate program
  4. Return it to the manufacturer
  5. Call professional junk removers
  6. Donate it to charity

As you can see, there’s plenty that you can do to dispose of or recycle your old air conditioning unit. Take a look at some of the details of these methods in the following section. These will help you on the way to getting rid of yours.

How to Dispose or Recycle Your Air Conditioner

So your air conditioner has kicked the bucket. Now you’re left with a rather bulky and not to mention unsightly appliance dumped in the garage or yard. And you can’t use it, so it’s got to go. But what can you do to dispose of or recycle your air conditioner?

Coming up you’ll see 6 methods that you can use to get rid of your old air conditioning unit. Let’s dive right in.

Method #1 Send It to a Qualified Scrapper

If only you could simply bundle off your old air conditioning unit into a couple of black bags and toss it in with your weekly household garbage. But, as you already know, that’s a plan that simply won’t work and could land you a hefty fine.

But how’s about this first great idea? You can send your air conditioner to a qualified scrap yard. The yard should take the unit off of you free of charge and will recycle the parts as it can.

Ok, but perhaps you wonder, what does a qualified scrap yard mean? If the scrap yard is qualified for your air conditioning unit, it will be able to do the following.

  • Dispose of the unit according to EPA regulations
  • Responsibly handle any environmentally harmful substances in the unit

You can put a local ad in Facebook or Craiglist stating you have an AC for scrap. There are scrapers who know how to separate the different metal and make some money at the scrap yard, so you’ll have no shortage of replies to pick it up for free.

You should be able to find information about your nearest scrap yard online.

Method #2 Contact Your Local Sanitation Department

Here is another great way of recycling or disposing of your air conditioner. That is to contact your local sanitation department. Getting in touch with them could save you some time when you are trying to figure out what your local disposal options are. Here’s why.

  • The department may know of or be in partnership with a specific local agency that takes care of air conditioner disposal
  • Your local sanitation department may have a team of qualified technicians that could dispose of the unit for you

Method #3 Take It Through a Rebate Program

Now let’s take a look at one of the most gratifying methods of disposing of your air conditioner. That is to take it through a rebate or bounty program. Why are these programs so good? Because some of them offer rebates or discounts on your next air conditioner. That’s right, they’ll be helping you with the cost of a new air conditioner. Sounds like a no-brainer, right?

Why do rebate programs work like this? These programs are designed to encourage homeowners to upgrade their air conditioners. They want everyone to swap over to models that are more energy-efficient and better for the environment. They are usually happy to provide discounts if your next model will be newer and more eco-friendly.

How can you get involved in such a program? You will need to contact your current energy provider. They will be able to inform you of the rebate and bounty programs that are taking place at the moment. Even if there isn’t a rebate program scheduled soon, they should be able to tell you when the next will start.

If there is a bounty or rebate program available in your area, the company will collect the air conditioner from your property. They will ensure to dispose of it properly.

old and new air con
A rebate program could offer you a discount on your next model

Method #4 Return It to the Manufacturer

Another way of disposing of your air conditioner is to return it to the manufacturer. Some manufacturers have return schemes. This is where they will take your old air conditioner off of you and dispose of it. But there is a small catch. They will only do this when you have committed to purchasing a new air conditioner with the company.

Some manufacturers, however, do not accept the return of old air conditioning units. It is best that you get in touch with your manufacturer to find out if they will take your old appliance.

air con units in a store
The manufacturer of your air conditioner may dispose of your old unit if you buy a new one with them

The company who installed your new air conditioner may also be able to take your old one without a charge.

Method #5 Call Professional Junk Removers

Sometimes calling a bunch of numbers and making inquiries about air conditioner disposal is all too much work. We’ve got enough on our plates as it is. That’s why contacting professional junk removers is also a great way for you to get rid of an old air conditioner.

There are a number of reasons why calling a professional may be your best option. Here are some of them.

  • The removers will do all the heavy lifting for you
  • They will ensure that the item is recycled properly
  • The company can give you an upfront quote
  • They will arrange a date and time for the collection that is convenient to you
replacing an air con
A professional junk remover will do all the heavy lifting for you

Method #6 Donate It to Charity

Does your air conditioner still function well? Are you simply replacing your air conditioner even though the old one still works? If this is the case, then why not donate your old unit?

Ok, but donate it where exactly? Here is a list of great donation ideas.

  • Donate it to a local charity. The charity may want it for their own building or be able to pass it on to a family they know is in need.
  • Give it to shelter home
  • Take it to a local organization that can reuse the parts. Although you might not be able to recycle the whole unit, much of the metal and plastic can be reused.
  • Give it to someone that is just starting out. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Students and young families are often all too happy to accept a freebie! And there is nothing that beats the satisfaction that comes with helping someone out.
  • Put it on an auction site. You could sell the item very quickly if you make the starting bid economical enough.


Having an old air conditioner in the home or yard takes up a lot of room and is simply an eyesore. That’s why if your air conditioner is no good to you, you’re no doubt keen to get it off your property ASAP.

Luckily, this article has listed 6 great methods you can use to dispose or recycle an air conditioner. I am sure that the suggestions will help you to get rid of yours or think of how you could give it to someone in need.

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Have a great day!


I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more