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5:45 AM Sat, Sept. 22nd

At your disposal: Recycling offers alternatives for old appliances

The Daily Courier/Les Stukenberg
Owner Mike Castor of Mike’s Appliance Center talks about turning used washers, dryers, stoves and refrigerators into scrap metal.

The Daily Courier/Les Stukenberg Owner Mike Castor of Mike’s Appliance Center talks about turning used washers, dryers, stoves and refrigerators into scrap metal.

Tri-city-area residents who want to get rid of old appliances while protecting the environment can take them to businesses or nonprofits that will recycle or reuse them.

However, they will need to turn over old refrigerators and freezers to appliance dealers to remove the Freon, which is toxic, disposal officials said.

"We usually stop by to pick (appliances) up at the curbside," said Chris Kuknyo, operations officer for Patriot Disposal Inc. in Prescott Valley. He said Patriot accepts refrigerators and freezers only after an appliance dealer removes the Freon and puts a green tag on the appliance.

"We don't get a whole heck of a lot - less than 50 a year," Kuknyo said. "Usually, people wait until the free dump day, and they drop them off."

Area dealers pick up appliances for a fee, often when consumers buy new appliances for their homes.

"We pick up appliances for a fee, and we dispose of them," said Mike Castor, owner of Mike's Appliance Center in Prescott Valley. He explained that it costs more to dispose of refrigerators and freezers because somebody has to remove Freon and contaminated oil in the compressors.

The person who removes Freon must have certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Castor said.

Castor said that he will not try to rebuild or re-condition washers and dryers unless "they are in top shape or brand new," adding that most "go to the scrap yard for metal."

A competitor, Andy's Appliances in Prescott Valley, tries to fix up washers, dryers and refrigerators because many local residents cannot afford new appliances, or prefer to save money, owner Andy Anderson said.

"Generally speaking, a (used) washer/dryer pair in a place like mine will run you $275 to $350," Anderson said. A comparable new set costs $700 to $750.

"A lot of stuff looks like new," he said. "We'll haul the old ones off. We are not all that interested in trade-ins."

Mattera Enterprises Recycling in Prescott Valley accepts almost all appliances "with a few caveats," plant manager Corey Burk said. He added that he recycles refrigerators upon the removal of the Freon.

"I take these appliances," Burk said. "We bale them in the machinery that is part of the recycling process. They are basically crushed and shipped to metal recyclers in Phoenix."

Burk said he handles appliances that both consumers and appliance storeowners bring to the center at 685 Cold Water Lane.

Nonprofit groups such as the Habitat Home Supply Store in Prescott accept appliances if they still function. For information, call 771-1777.

Contact the reporter at khedler@prescottaz.com