written by: MDSomerfield•edited by: BStone•updated: 8/2/2010
Millions of appliances are wasted every year; buying recycled repair parts for your household appliances can help reduce waste and also cost you less. You can find recycled parts over the internet, in local classifieds or at local high street electrical stores.
slide 1 of 4
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Why buy recycled repair parts for appliances? All household appliances have a finite lifetime, with the average fridge lasting between 10 and 15 years while a television may be defunct after as little as 8. Given the number of households in the U.S. alone, it's easy to see that millions of appliances are being discarded every year.
But much of that waste can be recycled. Much of it is good only as scrap metal but still more can be utilized in its original shape and form. Appliances are often only broken in one or two places and many of the parts are still good for reuse. There are many different places where you can source such parts, from various outlets over the internet to the Freecycle scheme and your local electrical store.
slide 2 of 4
Buying Used Appliance Parts on the Internet
The internet is often the first port of call when searching for recycled parts. It's a convenient medium at our fingertips that makes searching for specific models and part numbers relatively straightforward. You can choose to purchase from one of the countless specialist providers, or you can buy direct peer-to-peer from a buy-and-sell website such as Gumtree, Loot or eBay.
However, there are certain disadvantages to buying over the internet. For a start, you don't know what kind of condition the part you are buying is in. Always check the warranty; if it's only covered for three months then you may find yourself facing the same problem in a very short time. Buying peer-to-peer may be a cheaper option because of the lack of administrative overhead, but try and find somebody in your area and if possible offer to collect the part so that you can examine it first.
slide 3 of 4
Recycled Appliance Parts from High Street Electrical Stores
Even better than that, try your local electrical store. Many of them stock used parts and most will be able to direct you to the right place if they don't. Buying from your local store has a number of advantages over the internet and these should be your first port of call.
Firstly, you get the chance to examine the condition of the part. It's important to know how much wear and tear it has been through so that you can assess its ultimate value. Perhaps even more importantly, however, you can get professional advice on the spot – somebody who knows how long this new part can be expected to last and who may be able to suggest possible alternatives if they lack the specific model you're after.
Secondly, there's an environmental benefit; quite simply, the part will have travelled less and that will be reflected both in the cost and the carbon footprint.
slide 4 of 4
Recycle Appliances with Freecycle
If you have the time, another great thing you can do is source existing whole appliances from Freecycle. The Freecycle scheme is international and there are often free appliances advertised for collection in areas across the world.
Many spare parts never make it onto the market because nobody has the time or money to take the original appliances to pieces. If you're willing to spend an afternoon dismantling a washing machine or fridge-freezer and breaking it down into its components, not only do you get a host of spare parts but you also have the opportunity to sell a few of them yourself – you're doing your bit to reduce waste and you can turn a profit at the same time.
Used appliances parts can be sourced from a variety of places, from the internet to your local electrical store. Sourcing parts through local sources, whether high street stores or classified ads, is greener than buying from large national companies though it can be harder to find what you are looking for. Buying face to face, however, gives you the opportunity to get professional advice. If you really want to get stuck in then stripping unwanted appliances and selling off the individual parts is a fantastic way to contribute to waste reduction. With a little effort, and the will to save both money and the environment, you can reap the benefits of great appliances subsisting on recycled repair parts.