Santa Monica Residents,

We have a HUGE potential to reduce our output of global warming emissions, and it’s very simple: If you are ready to dump your old fridge, freezer or A/C unit, please call the City of Santa Monica’s Resource Recovery and Recycling at 310-458-2223. DO NOT leave curbside or alley as this will lead to a dangerous dumping of the harmful chemicals inside the unit.

This old freezer was recently found dumped in an alley in Santa Monica.  If you see one, talk to your neighbor and/or call the City of Santa Monica to request safe disposal.

Here’s what you need to know:

Did you know that refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners contain gases that are 1,000 – 9,000 times more potent at warming our climate than carbon dioxide? 

If refrigerators, freezers and air conditioning units are recycled and disposed of properly by professionals, then 90% of the gases in each unit are captured and purified for reuse or transformed into other chemicals that do not have climate changing capacity. 

If Santa Monica residents dump their units curbside or in the alley and the refrigerants in those units are drained or released by amateurs, then each unit will spew its gases into our atmosphere with enormous temperature-increasing effects on the climate.

In 2016, 170-nations gathered in Kigali, Rwanda, to address the pressing issue with using these climate-warming gases, a.k.a. refrigerant gases a.k.a. HFC’s. Luckily, the countries agreed on an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase out the use of harmful greenhouse gases starting in 2019. Manufacturers will switch to alternatives such as propane and ammonium. Scientists estimate that the Kigali accord can reduce global warming by nearly 1° Fahrenheit

But the proper disposal of any HFC-containing appliance is key in keeping these potent climate warming gases at bay. Any of us updating to a new unit or, simply, downsizing has the power and the responsibility to make sure these gases are recycled or properly disposed of.

Tossing out your ol’ fridge, freezer or air conditioner? Here’s what to do:

  1. ALWAYS dispose of your unit with a professional. Amateur drainage of the harmful refrigerant HFC gases will result in spewage straight into our atmosphere. 
  2. DO NOT leave refrigerators, freezers or air conditioners curbside or alley UNLESS you have already arranged for a FREE pickup by the City of Santa Monica. Please call the city’s Resource Recovery and Recycling: 310-458-2223. In addition to the environmental risk of leaving your unit curbside without proper disposal plans, this can also lead to playing children trapping themselves inside your unit.  Take safety measures such as removing doors!
  3. If you have arranged for pick-up with the city of Santa Monica (310-458-2223) and are asked to leave your unit curbside or in the alley, PLEASE MARK THE UNIT with a visible note: “For City Pickup ONLY – Harmful Chemicals / Para la recogida en la ciudad SOLAMENTE – Productos químicos nocivos”

If you are replacing with another unit, shop stores that offer free or inexpensive recycling of old units. If you are buying a new unit from a reputable store and they offer take your old unit away, you can generally have confidence that it will be handled properly. But feel free to ask if they are approved or alternatively, look for retailers that partner with EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program

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