Finding a way to dispose of a fridge freezer is no mean feat, especially if you want to get rid of it in a responsible and environmentally conscious way.
Like other large household items, such as mattresses, disposing of a fridge freezer requires a bit more care and attention. The insulation and refrigerant contained inside are classed as hazardous waste, not to mention the risk of harmful gases leaking from the appliance if it's not disposed of safely.
Keep reading for expert advice on to get rid of your fridge freezer once it’s past its best, and how to choose the best replacement.
But, if you have an old appliance to get rid of now, you have several options. We recently surveyed Which? members to reveal the most common.
The most popular option (47%), and arguably the least hassle, is to have it collected by the company delivering your new appliance.
Other ways include the council bulky waste collection, giving it away to family or friends, giving it to charity, selling it, or taking it to a recycling centre.
Surprisingly, around one in 10 people said they still have their old fridge freezer.
% of members who used this method
Collected by company delivery new appliances
I still have it
Council's bulky waste service
Given away to family/friend
I didn't have a previous fridge freezer
Taken to a recycling centre
I sold it
Given to charity
Based on a survey of 1,058 Which? Connect panel members in September 2021.
If your fridge freezer is beyond repair or can't be reused, arranging for the company delivering your new appliance to remove it is an option. Not only is it possibly the least hassle, it's also one of the more responsible options, as your old appliance will be taken away and recycled.
Under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulations (WEEE), every item that has either a plug, a charger, batteries or carries a crossed-out wheelie bin logo can be recycled, and that includes large appliances such as fridge freezers. However, recycling does come at a price - read on to find out more about your options for fridge freezer recycling, including costs.
Some high street retailers offer an old appliance pick up and recycling scheme, so it makes sense to book one of these if you're buying a new appliance.
Some retailers only offer the service when you are replacing like-for-like but others, such as AO.com, offer it for any appliance. So even if you're not buying from the retailer, you can book a collection to have your old appliance recycled.
Nearly half of our members had their old fridge freezer collected by the company delivering their new one. Do your research though, as prices vary - 54% paid less than £25 for this service, while 41% paid between £25 and £50. If you are buying your new appliance online, the retailer will ask you to add their collect and recycle service to your online shopping basket at the time of purchase, so you should be able to see how much it will cost you before you proceed.
AO.com offers two different services, but whichever you choose, your appliance will end up at its dedicated recycling facility. The company says its recycling machine, Bertha, helps recycle 700,000 fridges every year, which is around 20% of the UK total. The machine also takes care of any harmful gases or oils that could damage the environment.
If you buy a new appliance from Currys, you can also opt for it to take away your old one. Prices start from £15, depending on the appliance. Currys will remove washing machines, washer dryers, tumble dryers, dishwashers, cold appliances, cookers and ovens, gas hobs, electric hobs and hoods, and TVs over 42 inches.
High-street retailer Argos offers two services: an installation and recycle service as well as a recycle-only service. Similar to AO.com, Argos will collect your old appliance and take it away for recycling. Or, if you're having a new appliance delivered, it will disconnect and take away the old appliance and packaging too. Price start from around £19.99.
Most local councils will offer some sort of collection and disposal service for bulky waste. This can include large appliances, such as fridge freezers, but check first before booking a slot as some services may not include this type of appliance.
Having the council collect your fridge freezer from your home sounds convenient, but read the terms and conditions carefully. Sometimes items will only be collected if they’re left in a designated spot outside the house. Many local authorities say that they will recycle some or all the waste where possible.
Councils tend to charge different prices depending on the number of bulky items they collect.
Some councils, such as Liverpool City Council and a number of London boroughs, offer free bulky waste collection, but they’re very much in the minority. Most charge a fee to collect bulky waste, and it can be expensive – for example, Argyll and Bute Council and Wealden District Council charge more than £50 for their services, while the London Borough of Richmond charges £62 per collection.
In our survey, 88% of our members had paid to use a council's bulky waste collection service.
If you live in England or Wales, you can find out how much your council will charge for bulky waste disposal by typing your postcode into the . If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland, go to your council’s website and search for bulky waste disposal.
Most local tips will take an old fridge freezer, but not all, so check before you head off. To get your fridge freezer there you’ll need a vehicle big enough to fit it in, which may add an extra cost, if you don't happen to know someone friendly with a van. And you need to be careful of the refrigerant contained within the appliance when transporting the appliance.
Before binning your old fridge freezer, consider whether a repair is possible. New around large appliances such as fridge freezers mean that manufacturers will now have to make spare parts available. The new rules also state that repairs need to be possible using everyday tools, however some repairs may only be carried out by a professional repairer.
Spare parts including items such as door handles, door hinges, trays and baskets should be available to everyone for a minimum period of 10 years, so if you're handy with a screwdriver, you might be able to make very basic repairs yourself. For professional repairers, light sources, printed circuit boards (PCBs), temperature sensors and thermostats need to remain available for a minimum period of seven years.
In our latest fridge freezer survey, the following were some of the most common faults members reported with their appliance:
Absolutely. If your fridge freezer is still working but you need to replace it because you’re moving house or need a bigger capacity for a growing household, don’t just dispose of it.
There are other options that are more environmentally conscious and may even help someone who needs it. Best of all, these options generally won't cost you a penny.
According to our survey, 8% of members gave their old appliance to a friend or family, and 2% gave it to charity. So if you can't be bothered with the hassle of selling your old appliance, or would rather do a good deed, someone else could benefit.
Just 2% of our members sold their old fridge freezer. This could be due to the fact it was broken or didn't work, but if yours is still in usable condition you could make some extra cash by selling it.
Be clear with buying about any faults, or imperfections and also whether buyers need to arrange their own collection.
Whether you are selling your appliance or giving it away, check how old it is first. If it's 30 years old it's probably not worth passing on, as new appliances are made from different materials that make them more energy efficient.
It's important to supply the original instructions if you can. Not only will they offer a wealth of useful information for the new owner, they also contain vital safety information on using the appliance correctly. If you've lost them, you may be able to find a copy online.
Depending on the type of fridge freezer you’re getting rid of, there are some things you should bear in mind:
If you think spending more on a fridge freezer means it's likely to last longer, think again. While investing in an expensive appliance means you'll get more fancy features such as smart functionality, humidity control or multizone options where you can swap freezer and fridge space to suit your needs, it's no guarantee of a longer lifespan.
We’ve tested more than 60 , and discovered some that perform better than appliances that cost more than four times the average fridge freezer. The best way to choose a decent fridge freezer is to sign up to read our reviews.
If you're on a budget, you can also choose an . Our Eco Buy fridge freezers will save you money in the long run as these are our most energy-efficient models. Look out for the Eco Buy logo to help you select a model that won't run up your bills excessively.