41 Ways To Reuse-Recycle Refrigerators

The English Electric appliance which George and Ivy Ashley bought in 1947 is now thought to be the oldest continuously-working fridge in the country. Photo- comcast.net forums

One of the worst things that can be put in landfills is refrigerators. They take up a lot of room and many old fridges used Freon which leaks eventually spilling that toxic ingredient into our waste streams and atmosphere. Even worse the amount of illegal dumping of old refrigerators, which cost each taxpayer lots of money for cleanup.

I Just Gotta Tell Ya

  • Over 1 Million RV Refrigerator in Landfills today
  • 90% of Refrigerators can be repaired with a few simple parts
  • About 16% of unwanted refridgerators are still in working condition.
  • ENERGY STAR estimates there are over 47 million refrigerators over ten years old in the U.S. If every American home replaced its pre-1993 refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR model, enough energy would be saved to light more than 8.1 million homes for an entire year.
  • An estimated 12 Million US consumers are expected to purchase a new refrigerator a year.

The Value of Refrigerators

  • 25-100% of typical steel Appliances can be recycled and made into cars
  • Refrigerators manufactured prior to 1995 contain Freon which can be recycled for use in older car air conditioners.

41 Ways To Reuse or Recycle Refrigerators –

No matter what you do, Remove the Latches

1.) Repair your fridge, cleaning the inside is simple using common non- toxic cleaners such as baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar.

3.) Donate – to Habitat For Humanity, Restore or other Used furniture and appliance stores

4.) Give Away- Using Sites such Craigslist, Giving Away and YinYango, will take away the fridge

5.) Recycle- Many places such as Home Depot in exchange for purchase will take away your refrigerator. Many local state and city governments also offer recycle Fridge rebates.

6.) Start a Business and recycle Refrigerators for profit

7.) Use as a coffin (after taking out toxic materials)

8.) Make Shelving for clothing, books,

9.) Put in garage for those times you need extra refrigeration.

10.) Make a Pet Shelter- take out trays, lay on it’s site, put a door on the side, paint or decorators

11.) Make a pond- remove doors, trays and shelves and other toxic substances, bury, plumb and you have a pond.

12.) Make a Solar Water Heater,

13. ) Make Art

Fridge Art -icole Beck's "Coldspot: A Gulf Story" is just one of nine "Fine Arts Fridges" commissioned by ComEd to promote the importance of energy conservation

14.) Make a House

Igloo House- Source: Inhabitat

15.) Make an Armoire- Take out the shelves and trays, put in pole, paint and a new closet

16.) Make a desk- Take out the shelves and trays, put in a sliding shelf and voila a hidden desk!

17.) Make an animal watering hole- take out toxic materials and a new watering hole.

18.) Make a raised bed in a garden- No need to buy raised beds,

19.) Use as a cooler- having a lot of people over, fill with ice and put drinks into

20.) Need an extra bed?- clean it out, put in padding and now you have a bed.

21.) Make a smoker -made an awesome smoker out of an old freezer. The existing racks are great for smoking hams, or turkeys, salmon. Cut a 6″ hole in the side, down low, for the smoke box. Attach a smoke box from an old smoker and seal it up. Cut a 3″ or 4″ hole in the top and add some galvanized stove pipe pipe for the vent.

22.) Make an Air Compressor

23.) Make a worm bed

24.) Use as a compost pile

25.) Hold potting soil

26.) Use as a root cellar- bury in the ground and use the door as the opening.

27.) Store pet food, will keep the mice and other varmits out.

28.) Make New Storage

Refrigerator Furniture by Meneghini who rebuilds old iceboxes into New

29.) Make a Car

VooDoo Larry's REcycled VooDoo Retro Rod-

30.) Take off the door and make a fence

31.) Make into Kegarators with iPod docking station

Kegs, Music Station- Photo-Coolest Gadgets

32. ) Make Kitchenware

33.) The doors can be used for sledding or a toboggan.

34.) Use as coffee table

35.) Use as outdoor benches

36.) Make tables out of the doors

37.) Make a water fountain

38.) Make a kids pond for fishing games.

39.) Make a sandbox for kids

40.) Use the framing for an elevator

41.) Make a Couch



SE Alliance on Recycling Refridgerators in Boston

Garden Web

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  1. says

    you need to explain how to get the freon out. you talk of the need, but not the how to. also, repairing old refrigerators, costs? I like the coffin and raised bed garden ideas. thanks for the imagination. but , really, who has all this time to do these things? , jim

  2. Mary says

    Our fridge just went out and seems a waste to just throw it in the landfill. Found this page via google and the list is great. It would be awesome if it included more info on these things, i.e. removing hazardous materials from the fridge and making into said item. Thanx for the ideas though

  3. EriktheAwful says

    Freezers, fridges, washers, and dryers usually have nice, big expanses of straight sheetmetal. I’m hot-rodding a ’58 Sunbeam Alpine and the floorpans were rusted through. I cut the sides of an old freezer into shape, bent, and welded them to the existing sheetmetal. The battery box is cut from one side of an old washing machine.

  4. Appliance Guy says

    It was asked in the comment section: How do I get the freon out?
    Well to clear up a few things the old refrigerant was R-22 and was termed as freon. Scientists say that R-22 damages the ozone. Most all refrigerant you see in failed refrigerators are the newer R-134a and is not freon, it’s only referred to as refrigerant. I read that R-134a does not harm the ozone, yet the laws put in place when R-22 was still being sold still exist today for the R-134a, that you must collect the gas for recycling, even though it does not harm the ozone, therefore, you could cut the line and the gasses will not harm the ozone.

    There is oil in the compressor, you could dump that out and take it to an oil recycling center, usually an auto parts store in the US. The oil is great for a quick filtering through a paper towel and added to the older Diesel trucks, it increase mileage and horse power in my 95 Dodge Ram Cummins engine.
    Inside the refrigerator compressor is a motor and some scrap yards will pay you a copper content price for the whole thing (without the oil). If your refrigerator has R-22 then you may have to pay somebody a hefty fee just to capture the freon.


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