One piece of law that governs the way that you can dispose of white goods is The Waste Electrical and Electronic (WEEE) Regulations 2013, which became law in 2014 and concerns most products that have a plug or require a battery to function. Since large household appliances such as fridges, microwaves, washing machines, cookers and dishwashers all fall within this category, they are regulated under this act. In fact, these large household appliances, also known as white goods, are believed to make up 40% of WEEE waste.
The main goal of this legislation is to reduce the amount of WEEE and white goods that end up in landfills, so the law puts increased obligations on producers and distributors of white goods, such as to finance the collection, treatment and recovery of WEEE in some cases. It also puts some duties onto the individuals who own the white goods:
- Retailer and producer obligations
Under these WEEE regulations, retailers and distributors are obliged to provide some form of a take-back system for white goods, either by offering an in-store service whereby consumers take back their old white goods when replacing them or by setting up a designated collection facility where consumers can take white goods free of charge.
The regulation places a duty on households to dispose of their electrical waste responsibly. It expects that where a white good has a crossed-out wheelie bin icon on it, it should not be placed in your domestic waste bin. Instead, you should take it to be recycled, or call upon a professional white goods collection team to recycle it on your behalf.
This is because WEEE needs to be disposed of separately from general waste due to its unique components and materials which can create greater damage if left in landfills.