White Goods Disposal Law Explained

White goods, such as fridges, freezers, ovens and dishwashers, all bring convenience to our homes, but when they break down or get replaced, getting rid of them can be a real hassle. This is particularly due to the various laws in place that regulate the way in which they should be disposed of. 

To give you a better idea of how to dispose of your white goods in a legal way, our white goods disposal experts have gone into detail about the various laws, and how you can ensure you are abiding by them when disposing of white goods yourself.

dispose of unwanted furniture

Why is the disposal of white goods regulated?

White goods are a complex combination of materials, which means it is even more important for them to be recycled. By recycling white goods appropriately, any toxic materials (such as heavy metals) are prevented from penetrating and harming the soil and surrounding environment. 

The metals contained in white goods can be recycled numerous times, meaning that there is great potential to increase the longevity and use of these metals, and reduce a great deal of waste that might otherwise have piled up in a landfill site. Responsible disposal and recycling of white goods (and the metals within them) mean that we can preserve our raw materials and resources, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect our planet.

Therefore, the way in which we dispose of white goods has the potential to benefit and impact the environment considerably. As a result, the government and professional waste management companies, like ours, are keen to ensure that white goods are disposed of ethically, responsibly, and in line with the law. 

What are the laws on disposing of white goods?

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2013

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. 

  • Household obligations

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.

The Removal of ODS Regulation

Another applicable law when it comes to getting rid of white goods is the Removal of ODS Regulation, which governs the disposal of refrigerators in particular. 

Under this law, fridges need to be disposed of even more considerately than other white goods. This is because the chlorofluorocarbons gases contained within fridges are found to contribute to ozone depletion if they leak into the environment, meaning that the risks of improper disposal are even greater. This particular regulation was introduced by the European Commission and outlines that any fridges which contain chlorofluorocarbon gases or any other harmful substance must have these substances removed prior to recycling. 

In reality, this process of removal can only be completed by a professional waste management team or at a highly controlled site, like those found at recycling centres. As a result, to ensure that your fridge is disposed of and recycled in line with the law, you might want to seek support from a specialist white goods removal team who can quickly and efficiently collect, transport and dispose of your fridge with ease and the guarantee that you will avoid hefty fines and avoid causing greater damage to the environment. 

The Waste Duty Of Care Regulations 2005

The Waste Duty of Care Regulations 2005 is also relevant when it comes to the disposal of your white goods. However, this particular law covers all domestic waste, not only white goods. If homeowners and residents fail to comply with this particular law, it is treated as a criminal offence and can be punished as such. 

In particular, the regulation proposes that individuals have two broad choices when it comes down to getting rid of their waste, including white goods, in a legally compliant manner. They can either:

  1. Pass your waste on to a licensed waste facility, such as a recycling centre. 
  2. Hire a professional waste removal company that is approved and accredited by the Environment Agency and can provide all appropriate documentation, such as waste transfer notes to prove proper disposal.

Failing to do either of these things with your white goods and instead of dumping them on property that is not yours, or is public, constitutes fly-tipping and can carry a hefty fine and even a prison sentence in some cases. 

How to ensure you comply with the law when getting rid of your white goods

Whilst the law on getting rid of your white-goods is complicated, there are a few ways in which you can make it that bit more simple and avoid breaking the law. 

Firstly, you could take your white goods to a recycling centre to ensure they are recycled and disposed of legally. However, this does require access to a big vehicle, that you live in close proximity to the tip and that you have some free time since transporting and unloading your white goods can be a time-consuming and sometimes stressful ordeal. 

Alternatively, you can call upon a professional white goods removal company that is fully approved and accredited to collect and recycle your waste, including your white goods. 

We provide fast, efficient and affordable white goods removal services in London so that you can sit back and relax with peace of mind that your white goods are being handled responsibly, legally and with the environment in mind.

We happen to be experienced in all aspects of furniture disposal and are widely regarded as the best rubbish removal company in London.