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How to Dispose of Washing Machines

You've ordered your shiny new appliance and you're looking forward to seeing it installed in your kitchen or laundry room. There's only one problem, you need to get rid of the old washing machine before you have space to install the new one. When you're considering how to dispose of it there are a number of options open to you.

Sell It!

If your old appliance is still working and looks smart someone will be willing to give you some cash for it. Obviously, the newer the machine is, the more you can ask for it. You can sell through online auction sites, but since washing machines are heavy and transportation costs can add up quickly, you might do just as well using old-fashioned methods such as word of mouth or a postcard advert in a local shop.

Give the washing machine away

Apart from the obvious thing of being a generous person, there are other reasons for choosing to give an old appliance away rather than sell it. These include:

- Giving away a washing machine.You know someone who has no cash and really needs a washing machine!

- It's an old appliance and you don't know if it will last another six weeks or another six years

- You need the space quickly, it may take a while to find someone who wants to pay, but it's easy to find someone who'll take it for free

- The machine needs repair and if the new owner pays for that, that's good enough for you

Recycle it

Unless the machine has a fault that can't be repaired, reusing is more environmentally friendly than recycling. But for dangerous appliances, the most responsible thing to do is to take them out of circulation, while ensuring that the materials used to make them can be reclaimed. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive of 2007 has quite tight guidelines about how electrical equipment should be recycled. The aims of the directive are:

- To prevent potentially hazardous waste from going to landfill where it could contaminate the soil or groundwater

- To ensure the maximum amount of recoverable materials are made available for reuse...

There's enough steel in an iron to make 13 steel cans, just think of all the things your old washing machine could end up in!

How to do it

Thanks to the WEEE directive, electrical appliance recycling is much easier than it used to be. You have a number of choices:

- If you're buying a new machine, your retailer must provide you with a way to dispose of the old one.

This might mean offering you the option of bringing it to the store, or it could be that your old machine can be taken away when the new one is delivered. There may be a charge for this latter option, but it's always worth negotiating.

- Take it to your local recycling centre

You'll be able to find locations, opening hours and other useful information about recycling in your area on the 'recycle now' website.

- See if your washing machine repairs company will take it

Even if the machine is not repairable it may have parts that can be salvaged and reused. The company will then take care of recycling the parts that can't be used as spares

- Ask your local authority

They may offer a pick up service if you don't have a suitable vehicle to transport a large appliance to recycling

- Contact a local private waste disposal company

Sometimes private companies charge less than a council run service. Make sure they're reputable and will dispose of your machine in an approved manner.