Programs vary among cities and counties, but many municipalities offer pickup services for large appliances, and smaller appliances can often be taken to recycling centers. Charitable organizations might also offer pickup services for old appliances that still work.
Some charitable organizations sell donated appliances to raise money, so they might not be able to pick up an appliance they don't expect to sell. Others give donated items to needy homes, which prevents appliances from going to a landfill before necessary.
Because large appliances are so big and difficult to compact as garbage, many areas require that appliances be recycled. Commercial recycling companies, which are often funded in part by government-run incentive programs, may offer pickup services if the appliance is economical to recycle. Other cities or counties might offer pickup services as well.
In some cases, recycling an old appliance can cost money, and some remote areas might not offer pickup services at all. Recycling in these areas requires finding a recycling location and transporting the appliance. In these areas, disposal might be a more cost-effective option if it's allowed by law. When disposing of certain appliances, it's important to ensure that the appliance is safe to be sent to a landfill; refrigerant in refrigerators and air conditioning units, for example, might have to be drained beforehand.