How Do You Recycle an Air Conditioner?

To recycle an air conditioner, find an air conditioner recycling program or contact a local waste disposal provider. Never throw away an air conditioner.

Federal law dictates that air conditioners must be recycled, as they contain harmful chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbon and oil. To safely recycle an air conditioner, run through the following steps.

  1. Contact an electric utility company
  2. Some electricity providers offer bounty programs to trade in used air conditioners and other appliances. Check with a local electricity provider to see if it offers a program and if the air conditioner qualifies for it. The federal government's Energy Star website offers a database for local recycling programs at

  3. Contact waste disposal providers
  4. If a recycling program is not available, contact a local waste disposal provider to pick up the air conditioner.

  5. Remove the refrigerant
  6. Some waste disposal providers require people to remove the refrigerant before they pick the unit up. In some cases, such as in New York City, the provider makes an appointment to remove the refrigerant prior to picking it up. Other cities may require owners to arrange their own refrigerant removal. As these chemicals are dangerous and require special equipment to remove, owners should never attempt this themselves. It is important to always leave refrigerant removal to a trained and certified professional.