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How To Recycle Your Fridge Freezer

Empty fridge freezer to be recycled, with Charlie sat in front of it

Did you know your seller is required to take back your old fridge?

If only fridge freezers lasted forever. Unfortunately it's pretty tough living without a fridge freezer, and old fridges can stop working effectively. When they start building up ice, they use more electricity, cost you more in bills, as well as the environmental cost of producing more electricity. 

When it is time to invest in a new, more energy efficient fridge, there's a lot to think about. You'll be considering cost and how much you can afford, size and whether it'll fit in your kitchen, and convenience of where to purchase the fridge. But it's also worth thinking about one other thing: the life cycle of your new fridge.

We live in a linear economy where we use new resources to build a product, buy the product, use it and then discard it. In an ideal world, we would have a circular economy. At the end of a product's lifecycle, we'd reuse and repurpose all its parts into new products. 

The linear economy v the circular economy


In the UK, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations (WEEE regulations) help us to keep our fridges in the circular economy. Under the WEEE regulations, retailers are obliged to help you dispose of your electrical waste.

What the regulations say

  • they need to provide an in store take back service for customers
  • they need to set up an alternative take back service
  • they should tell you how they’ll reuse / recycle your equipment 

What does that mean in practice?

For items like fridges and washing machines, retailers should offer a service to take away and recycle your item. They often charge a small fee to do this to cover their collection costs.

When I recycled our fridge, we used the scheme from AO who took our fridge to a Lancashire recycling facility. We paid £20 - a small fee when you consider they do all the lifting, transport and then recycling.

What about smaller electronics?

For smaller electronic items like toasters or hair dryers, you can take these into shops that sell the same type of product and they will recycle this for you.


It’s not just electronics like fridge freezers and kettles, now you can also recycle mobile phones at o2 shops. If your model isn't too old, they’ll even give you some money for it. A win win for you and the planet. 


Recycling your electrical equipment couldn't be easier with the government WEEE regulations. It means the precious metals and electronics inside your fridges, phones and hair dryers can continue to be used without mining more precious resources for our electrical equipment.

Have you used this scheme to recycle your fridge freezer? Let us know in the comments.


Did you like this article? You may also be interested in Easy Ways to Save Energy and Money, and 8 Ways to Save Water At Home.


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