Guide to white goods and old furniture disposal

UK Home Improvement

Guide to White Goods and Old Furniture Disposal

Sometimes getting rid of old furniture and appliances can be confusing. What can be recycled? Where should you take it? How will you get it where it needs to go?

Here’s some useful information and helpful tips on white goods disposal and recycling appliances or old furniture. You can also speak to your local waste management experts for advice and guidance on the best solutions.

What are ‘White Goods’?

Large electrical appliances, usually found in the kitchen are often known as white goods. This is because items like fridges used to be coated in white enamel. However, all kitchen and laundry appliances are still known as white goods, even if they are silver, black or any number of fashionable colours.

Some examples of white goods include:

  • Fridges/Fridge freezers/freezers
  • Washing machines
  • Tumble dryers
  • Cookers and ovens
  • Air conditioners
  • Dishwashers

Disposal of White Goods

White goods and other household appliances cannot be placed in a skip. They are known as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). To reduce the amount of electrical goods being sent to landfill, WEEE is regulated by the government.

Whether you are upgrading older items, or replacing something that has broken, if it has a plug, a battery or a cable then your household appliance is classed as WEEE. A symbol on your item that looks like a crossed-out wheelie bin means the disposal of the item is WEEE regulated, and must be carried out in accordance with the correct guidelines.

Before disposing of white goods you might want to consider if you could repair, donate or sell the item instead.


With a little DIY knowledge and some research online, you may find you can repair an electrical item that has stopped working. Replacing a blown fuse in the plug is an easy fix and could save you a lot of money and hassle. If you don’t feel confident making repairs, or if it’s a more complicated job, ask a professional for a quote to repair your appliance, it may be cheaper than replacing it.


Many charities accept donations of white goods that are still in working order, some even offer to collect good quality items from your home. Donating items is a way to help the environment, whilst also helping a charity to raise funds by giving someone the chance to buy a good quality appliance at a lower price.


There are lots of places you can sell used appliances, from social media marketplaces and online auction sites to a good old-fashioned notice on a local message board. Make sure you let the buyer know if there are any issues with the appliance, honesty is always the best policy and some people will be willing to make repairs themselves if they can get a bargain!

Recycling Appliances and White Goods Collection

If it’s not economical to repair your appliance, and it’s not possible to donate or sell it, then you’ll need to get rid of the broken item to make room for a new one. Some retailers offer white goods disposal and services for recycling appliances for an extra fee when delivering a replacement.

Your local council or recycling centre might offer a collection service for white goods and household appliances, or if you have suitable transport, you could take the item to a recycling centre yourself. This is often very heavy work, and requires a large vehicle.


There was a time when dishwashers were owned by only the wealthiest families in grand houses. Dishwasher recycling and dishwasher disposal is important now the appliances are more popular, as it prevents them from ending up in landfill.

Tumble Dryer

Just like dishwashers, tumble dryers have become more accessible and are rapidly becoming a household necessity. New technology means that the energy consumption of a tumble dryer can be dramatically reduced when you upgrade to a new machine, so lots of people require tumble dryer recycling services. There are many cost effective solutions for tumble dryer recycling and tumble dryer disposal out there, so make sure you enquire with one that’s beneficial for you so you can make room for your new and upgraded tumble dryer.


Fridges are the most common large household appliance, with a variety of different sizes and brands available to suit any size family or space. From tiny counter top fridges and specialist beer or wine fridges, to huge double-doored American fridge freezers.

Fridges are often the largest item in a kitchen, making fridge disposal difficult without a large van and some heavy lifting. Fridge recycling needs to be done carefully due to the hazardous refrigerant gases that make them function. Fridge disposal involves a process called degassing, to remove the refrigerants safely.


Much like fridges, freezers come in a huge range of types and sizes. Fridges and freezers are commonly combined into one appliance, but you can also buy them separately. Large chest freezers are often stored in garages or outbuildings and can be extremely heavy. As with fridges, freezer disposal and freezer recycling involve removing the refrigerant gases and then breaking down the components of the appliance and disposing of them safely.

Washing Machine

Washing machines are another extremely common household item. As they are used regularly and are subject to the wear and tear of hard water, they can sometimes break and be difficult to repair. If you are unable to repair your appliance you will need to look into washing machine disposal or washing machine recycling. For these heavy appliances, a washing machine recycling service is often the easiest way to make space for a new machine, rather than trying to move the item yourself.


Microwaves are usually one of the smallest items considered to be ‘white goods’. They also need to be dealt with as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), by a microwave disposal or microwave recycling service.

Old Furniture Disposal and Old Furniture Recycling

Old furniture can be disposed of and recycled in a number of ways, depending on what the item is made of. If old furniture is in good condition, you may wish to sell it or donate it to a charity. Check your local area for charities accepting donations of old furniture and find out if they have any restrictions, or requirements for donated items.


Due to the mixed materials that make up a sofa, sofa disposal and sofa recycling needs to be done separately to other household waste. A sofa can usually only be accepted by a charity for resale if the fire safety label is still attached.


Mattresses need to be taken to a specialist mattress recycling facility. Mattress disposal involves breaking down the item into separate materials that then need to be handled in different ways. – You cannot put a mattress in a skip.


There are lots of different types of bed and bed frames, and the options for bed recycling depend on the type of bed you have. A wooden bed frame can be disposed of in a skip and should be broken down to make the best use of the space. If your bed frame is made of mixed materials, for example a divan bed, you will need to ensure the waste management carrier or skip hire company will or won’t take it.

Other Household Items and Electrical Appliances

If you have other household items to dispose of, remember that WEEE disposal regulations apply to any items with a plug, cable or battery, including: laptops, televisions, stereos, games consoles and cameras.

When organising a house clearance, skip hire or rubbish and waste removal services are efficient ways to get rid of larger items like furniture, and we’ll make sure they are disposed of correctly for you.


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