Navigating large appliance recycling in Minneapolis

Dear Sam,  

I recently visited relatives in another state who were in a quandary about what to do with an old refrigerator in their basement. I (very smugly) told them that we in Minneapolis don’t have to worry about getting rid of large appliances – the city picks them up and recycles them for us. My partner thinks it may not be that easy. What’s the story? 




Dear Geraldo,

You are certainly on the right track! In our ever-growing city, we must be mindful of our impact on the environment. We can contribute to a healthier planet by properly disposing of our solid waste, including large appliances. The City of Minneapolis has implemented a robust recycling program to make this process easy and eco-friendly for all residents. 

Curbside Recycling Program 

Minneapolis residents with City of Minneapolis Solid Waste & Recycling service are fortunate to have a convenient curbside recycling program that accepts a variety of materials, including paper, plastics, glass, and more. Curbside collection includes large appliances like air conditioners, refrigerators, stoves, dryers, and washing machines; however, the collection process is slightly different from collecting garbage and recycling residents place in their carts.   

How to Recycle a Large Appliance via Curbside Collection
If you have garbage and recycling collection through the City of Minneapolis, you can set appliances out curbside for recycling. Here’s how:

  1. Prepare the Appliance: Before placing your appliance at the curbside, ensure it’s empty and, if possible, defrost the freezer. Remove any doors from refrigerators or freezers to prevent accidents and make recycling smoother. 
  2. Label the appliance “For Solid Waste.”
  3. Place the labeled appliance next to your blue City of Minneapolis recycling cart on your recycling day. The crews will note these items on your recycling day and put a “we’ll be back” sticker on the item for pick up by a separate truck and crew. Pick-up can take several weeks due to current demand and staffing shortages. 

Large item collection crews need to catch up. Please leave your items at the curb or alley line until they are picked up.

How to Recycle a Large Appliance via Recycling Drop-Off Centers
If you live in a multi-unit building (greater than 4 units) and have garbage and recycling collection through a private hauler, or for those who prefer a more hands-on approach, Hennepin County provides drop-off facilities where Minneapolis (and all Hennepin County) residents can take their large appliances. Visit the official city website for a list of locations and hours of operation. 

Other Ways to Recycle Large Appliances  

Research Retailer and Utility Provider Programs 

  • Some retailers offer appliance take-back programs when purchasing new appliances. Check with your retailer to explore recycling options for your old items. 
  • Xcel Energy offers a cash rebate and free pick-up and recycling service for your spare refrigerator or freezer that is in working condition. 
  • Here are a few businesses we found that recycle appliances for a small fee:
    • A+ Plus Appliance, St. Paul, 651-771-0336 
    • B & E Recycling Station, Elk River, 763-441-7211 
    • Certified Recycling, Burnsville, 952-894-1448
    • J.R.’s Advanced Recyclers, Inver Grove Heights, 651-454-5995 
    • Metro Appliance Recycling, Otsego, 763-241-8787

Donate or Sell 
If your appliance is in working condition, give it away, sell it, or donate it to local charities or non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity ReStoreBetter Futures Minnesota, or Salvation Army. See more donation opportunities for large and small appliances on the Choose to Reuse website

By responsibly recycling large appliances, we contribute to reducing landfill waste and promoting a circular economy. Many components of these appliances, such as metals, can be recycled and reused, reducing the need for raw materials and energy consumption. 

Let’s make a collective effort to keep our neighborhood and city clean and green. By understanding and utilizing the solid waste disposal programs offered by the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County, including large appliances, we can contribute to a more sustainable future and positively impact our community and the environment!