Do scrap men take fridge freezers?

UK Home Improvement

Do Scrap Men Take Fridge Freezers?

In short: Yes, scrap men will often be willing to take away fridge freezers for you if it has broken down or if you’re planning on upgrading. However, several things must be considered, including cost, convenience, the law and your alternatives.

We’ll explore all of these aspects in this guide, giving you a comprehensive answer if you’ve been asking yourself “Do scrap men take fridge freezers?”.

Who are scrap men?

For many people, the idea of the scrap man is a humble and nostalgic one, since many people will probably have memories of – or will have told you about – times when you could leave large items out the front of your property to find them taken away the same day.

And this is still true today in many respects, with small entrepreneurs or scrap yard owners who scour for scrap metal items to take off your hands when you no longer need them. However, the laws have changed slightly, and due to waste carrier regulations, all scrap men need to have a licence. The trouble is that some more unscrupulous operators and one-man-bands may still pick up your waste and could potentially dump it if they find it holds no value.

This is a rare situation since they’re unlikely to take an item away for free if there’s no monetary value in it (which leads nicely onto the topic of our next section). But the risk remains since it would be you, the owner of the waste, who is liable if the item is found amongst fly-tipped waste. 

Do scrap men charge to take away fridge freezers?

Yes, most scrap merchants now implement a small charge if you’re arranging for them to take away your fridge freezer. This is because, unlike in the past, they are themselves charged for disposing of your appliance at commercial waste sites. The cost to them is not really outweighed by the value of what little metal there is, so in order to make it worth their while, they will no doubt make you pay.

Again, this is likely a sign of a professional, licensed waste carrier, as they need to have a licence to access waste sites. Anyone who takes your fridge freezer without you knowing could be dumping it illegally after they’ve managed to extract anything of value.

Are fridge freezers considered hazardous waste?

You might be wondering why it costs the scrap man to take fridge freezers to commercial waste sites, but the answer isn’t down to the value of metal – it’s about the category of waste. 

Since fridge freezers will contain some form of hazardous components – not to mention a general variety of materials – they need to be disposed of carefully to limit the impact on the environment. More specifically, it’s the refrigerant gases in fridge freezers that make them hazardous. Depending on the make or age of your appliance, it could contain any of the following:

  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  • Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

These hazardous gases are bad for the atmosphere, which is why the UK has long had laws surrounding them. In 2005 the UK incorporated EU directives on hazardous waste into its regulations too.

Alternatives to using the scrap man

If you have decided against using your local scrap man, what are some alternatives? Here are a few ideas for legal ways to get rid of a fridge freezer you no longer need:

Sell it: Third-party selling sites may allow you to sell your fridge freezer if it still works and you simply want to upgrade.

Donate it: There are some charity organisations that will happily take a working fridge freezer if they can sell it on themselves, making your life easier and helping a good cause.

Take it to the tip: In most cases, households can take fridge freezers to their local tip for legal disposal free of charge, leaving you only with the cost of transporting it there.

Pay the council to take it away: If you want absolute peace of mind that your fridge freezer is going to be disposed of properly, then you can always contact your local council and pay a fee to have them collect it.

What happens to my fridge freezer once it’s collected?

With the strict laws surrounding hazardous waste, fridge freezers need to be disposed of in a particular way. Once your appliance is collected, it should be taken to a recycling plant where it can be assessed to establish whether the whole thing can be put back into some form of use. If it cannot be rescued, it will be taken apart in a manner that facilitates the removal and containment of the hazardous elements.

Do scrap men take fridges? Yes, but whether you choose to leave your fridge freezer for the scrap men to take or try one of our alternative methods, always ensure you dispose of your old appliances legally and safely.


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