MONTREAL -- The days of leaving old appliances on the curb for scrap collectors or hauling them to the dump is coming to an end in Quebec.

A recycling program for large appliances is the newest addition to the government's plan to fight climate change.

"A fridge that we put in front of our house, it's like a car doing about 17,000 kilometres, so the consequences are pretty strong," Quebec Environment Minister Benoit Charette said Monday.

Come December, appliance stores will be required to take in old appliances to be recycled; the government has earmarked $90 million to help owners set up their new recycling supply chain without passing the cost on to consumers.

"Well, it's time," said Barry Adler, vice president of Almar Appliances in Hampstead. "The consumer needs it and the environment needs it. I think everybody's ready for it, and I think this is a very good move on the part of the government." 

Recycling the metal, plastic, and especially the dangerous coolants in fridges and air conditioners is the carbon equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road, according to the Quebec government. 

It's a move climate change advocates have been pushing for.

"We're very happy about it. It's an important measure. The refrigerating gasses that are inside our household appliances have a huge climate impact. It can go up to 12,000 times the impact of CO2 on the atmosphere, so it's really important to make sure they're properly treated at the end of life," said Caroline Brouillette of Equiterre. 

Store owners have until December 2020 to come up with their plan to recycle refrigerators – and 2024 to find a solution for other appliances. The money will be distributed over ten years.