Air conditioners, both window units and installed, contain Freon, a substance which can contaminate the groudwater and is poisonous to humans and pets.
It is illegal to place air conditioners in the trash. It is also illegal to cut a freon line and evacuate this substance onto the ground.
Some businesses are licensed to properly dispose of appliances containing Freon and other hazardous substances and recycling parts or by collecting appliances for a recycler.
Most garbage haulers offer pickup of properly tagged (free of freon) appliances for a fee. Contact your local garbage hauler for more information. When purchasing a new appliance ask the retailer if they will take the old one and dispose of it properly when they deliver the new one.
Air conditioners are not accepted at the Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful Recycle Centers unless they have a tag from a licensed operator that they are free of Freon. *Spring 2016: Ask for update on Freon Appliance acceptance at Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful Rockford Recycle Center.