Refrigerators, freezers and some air conditioners all contain chemicals called refrigerants. Most refrigerators made before 1990 use chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerant, which depletes the protective ozone layer of the Earth’s atmosphere.
CFCs are also potent greenhouse gases, accelerating the rate of climate change. Even newer refrigerators, which run on ozone-safe hydrofluorocarbon (HFC), need to be disposed of carefully, because HFCs are still greenhouse gases.
Depending on the age of your refrigerator, it might also contain foam which is made with CFCs, used oil with ozone-depleting substances, plus wires and switches containing toxic mercury. Recycling facilities can safely remove these components before reusing the fridge’s plastic, metal and glass.
Answered by Dave Roos