recycling household appliances and computers

4 Ways You Can Still Get Cash for Clunkers

The Cash for Clunkers program may be over for automobiles, but you can get some money for replacing your outdated household appliances.

4 Ways You Can Still Get Cash for Clunkers

Your car may not be elligible for extra $$, but how about your fridge?

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—The Cash for Clunkers program officially ends tonight at 8 p.m., after coaxing more than 450,000 drivers into new, more fuel-efficient autos. Yet, those who didn't feel the need to trade in their old cars don't have to miss out on getting cash for other clunkers. There are a few other programs out there willing to pay you money for everything from leaky windows to your old Polaroid camera.

Here are four clunkers that might bring you some extra cash:

#1: Your avocado fridge. Refrigerators are a household's biggest energy hog, and they can last as long as 17 years. Fridges made prior to 1994, when the government's energy-efficiency laws went into effect, can use more than 1,500 kilowatt-hours per year, compared with more modern fridges’ average of 486. So, to get people to toss those old energy guzzlers, a power utility in Michigan is paying its customers $50 to recycle them, and offering to pick them up for free. Check your utility company for a similar program. If it doesn't have one, it's still smart to ditch an old fridge. A post-1994 Energy Star-rated model can put an extra $150 per year in your pocket in the form of lower electric bills. And if you think holding on to an old fridge until it dies is greener than recycling it, a study from the University of Michigan found that upgrading any pre-1994 model is better for the planet—even after you factor in all the energy required to manufacture and ship a new model.

#2: That clanking water heater. Buy a new water heater, upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system, or even replace those old drafty windows before the end of this year, and you'll qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $1,500 come April 15th. The products that qualify for the tax-credit have already been selected by the Energy Star program; note that not all Energy Star products apply—only the most efficient in their category. If you can't afford to upgrade before the end of ’09, don't worry; the credits apply to upgrades made before the end of 2010.

#3: The dryer that ruins all your clothes. While the feds will give you a tax credit for a more efficient water heater, it's usually energy companies that provide rebates or discount programs for small appliances at the local level. Check with your utility to see if one exists—or wait a few months for state governments to get involved. As part of the stimulus package, the Obama administration set aside $300 million to give to states who agree to participate in a program that would provide anywhere from $50 to $200 for small appliances. The deadline for states to decide whether they want to participate was August 15th, and according to the Energy Department, so far all 50 states say they will. The program isn't expected to start until after November 30th, so if you can put up with that smoking dryer for a few more months, it might be worth it.

#4: Your outdated gadgets. For quite a few years, Dell and HP, along with most of the other major computer manufacturers, have offered customers rebates on new computers when they send the companies any brand of their old junky monitors, CPUs, or laptops. But what if you want to get rid of an old MP3 player or a digital camera but don't want to replace it? Gazelle, an online electronics-waste recycling company, will pay you what it's worth—for instance, $22 for a 5-year-old iPod that's in good condition—and you can use the money for whatever you want, or donate the cash to a charity. The company has also partnered with Costco, dispensing the cash to you via Costco gift card.


Published on: August 21, 2009

More from our Authors

Ready to turn your tired soil into no-toil garden gold? Learn how you can enjoy bumper crops, less watering and fewer weeds in one easy step.

Energy star rated

uk wigs

I think there should be

I think there should be invention of small micro freezer just like microwave oven. Micro freezer can save electricity and it will be convenient product for the single person living in 1DK apartment.

For some people is quite easy

For some people is quite easy to recycle. For example, in Houston there is an appliance recycling Houston program running and people are very happy with that. Recycling appliances and electronics has never been easier.


It is good that many people think about how to be more eco friendly. The guys from a Sterling appliance repair shop told me that the first step to an Eco friendly home is to buy energy class A appliances. These appliances have a lower consumption rate, which also leads to lower bills, therefore it is a win-win situation.

Start Your Wellness Journey!
Sign up for updates on Rodale Wellness and get your FREE wellness journal to help you find your path to vibrant health. Click here to start your unique journey!

Free Newsletter
Sign up for our FREE newsletters to stay up to date on all of our wellness news.

  The Daily Fix
Useful news and practical tips to help you live a healthy life on a healthier planet.

  Wellness in Action
Find your path to vibrant health, and get your free wellness journal as our thanks!

You may unsubscribe at any time.

Your Privacy Rights. About Us.