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How to Dispose of Fridge Freezers

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By Elizabeth Masterman

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If you’re currently considering buying a new fridge freezer, you’re probably wondering what you will do with the old one. Fortunately, there are lots of options, even if it’s no longer working.

How Can You Get Rid of an Old Fridge Freezer?

For a fridge freezer that is still in total working order, options include selling or donating it online, donating it to a charity shop, or returning it to an electrical store under the Retailer Take-back scheme. A broken fridge freezer can be taken to the local tip, collected by the council, or disposed of by a registered private contractor.

What to Do with a Fridge Freezer That Still Works

Firstly, if you’ve got the space, consider keeping it as a backup. The fridge freezer is one of the hardest working appliances in the home, switched on and in use for 365 days a year.

If your new fridge freezer stops working it can be a disaster, so having a spare can be helpful.

It can also be useful to have that extra space for occasional use, for example if you have guests coming over, or you want to stock up for Christmas or an upcoming special event.

It could also be useful as a place to keep the contents of your fridge and freezer when you defrost the main freezer.

Don’t Dump It!

If you definitely want to get rid of it, you could try selling it. You could do this online through sites like Facebook Marketplace or eBay, or you could put a card up in your local supermarket.

Another option is to donate it, perhaps to a local refuge or on a Facebook group such as Freely Given. Some charities, such as the British Heart Foundation, also accept electrical items.

Look online to see what groups or charities near you are currently accepting fridge freezers.

If you do decide to sell it or give it away, do bear in mind the logistics and costs of transporting it. The appliance will probably be too large to fit in most cars and a fridge freezer really needs transporting upright, so you or the recipient may need to hire a van.

Can You Take Fridge Freezers to the Tip?

If the fridge freezer no longer works and you want to dispose of it, one option is to take it to your local recycling centre.

Visit the Recycle Now website to find out which recycling centres near you, including local tips/Household Waste Recycling Centres, will accept fridge freezers.

Will the Council Collect a Fridge Freezer?

Most councils will collect large items like fridge freezers or washing machines for a fee. Visit Gov UK and enter your postcode to be put through to your district council website, where you can find out how to arrange collection.

It is worth knowing that many councils will accept several items at once for one fee, so do think if there are any other bulky items you want to get rid of at the same time.

Be aware that your item must be left where you usually leave your bins, and if you don’t have it there ready when the collection comes you won’t be refunded.

Do Scrap Men Take Fridge Freezers?

Some scrap men will take fridge freezers… But they shouldn’t.

They are only really interested in the motor and the compressor, and once they’re removed that they cannot safely make use of the remaining metal without releasing harmful CFCs and HCFCs into the environment.

As a result, many fridge freezers that scrap metal collectors remove end up dumped in the countryside, a practice known as fly-tipping. If the fridge freezer is then traced back to you, you could be prosecuted and fined.

You are legally bound by the Waste Duty of Care Regulations of 2005 to dispose of potentially harmful items responsibly, either by giving the waste to a licensed waste facility, such as a Household Waste Recycling Centre, or by using a professional company that the Environmental Agency has approved.

Another option is to enlist a private company to take your old fridge freezer away. There are many companies online that will collect your unwanted appliance and dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way.

If you do decide to use a private company, make sure they are Registered Waste Carriers and hold a current Waste Carrier’s Licence. 

Will Retailers Take My Old Freezer?

If you are going to buy a new fridge freezer, be aware that many high street shops now take back electrical items for free under the Retailer Take-back scheme, launched in January 2021.

Under the scheme, any large shop that sells electrical appliances will take your old item if you buy a new one from them. 

Some big stores and chains such as Currys, PC World and B&Q will accept old items even if you aren’t buying a new one. You have 28 days after buying something new to take your old one in for recycling.

These stores will ensure that any valuable parts and materials will be removed from your appliance for reuse, and anything left over will be disposed of appropriately.

Can Fridge Freezers Be Recycled?

You may be surprised to learn that up to 95% of a fridge can be recycled! There are toxic substances inside a fridge freezer – Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) – and these are harmful when released into the atmosphere.

However, these can usually be safely removed and then the metal, plastic, and even the oil and foam can be reused.

The compressor unit will be removed before the rest of the unit is shredded in a controlled environment to safely release the harmful substances.

The shredded materials will be sorted into metals and plastics for recycling, and the harmful gases are cooled to -160oC so that they can be safely evaporated at high temperatures in a special incinerator unit.

Do you have further questions about disposing of your fridge freezer? Then see if these help you:

Is Recycling Freezers Dangerous?

Freezers can be recycled but it is a very specialist job. You cannot take it to any scrap metal place to be recycled. Many will reject the item as it’s simply too complex for them to deal with.

How Much Does It Cost to Dispose of a Freezer?

Costs range from £15 to £65 depending on where you live and the service you’re using to get rid of the freezer.

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