Disposing of white goods
“Recycling turns things into other things. Which is like magic.” ~ Anonymous
Statistics show that waste generation has tripled since the year 1960. With landfills filling up with both recyclable and non-recyclable materials, we all need to make a conscious effort to recycle as much as possible and protect our environment. Although recycling is being done more and more often, consumption is continually increasing causing landfills to become overfilled and in turn negatively contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution.
One way to reduce harmful waste in landfills is to practice recycling as much as you can, from paper and cardboard to tins, plastics and even old appliances, like white goods.
What are white goods?
‘White goods’ is the name given to large electrical goods and appliances. These goods include ovens, refrigerators, washing machines, clothes dryers and the like. Since they are the larger home appliances, they tend to be quite difficult to dispose of when no longer in use and it is not advised that they are left in landfills. White goods also contain components that can be harmful to dispose of in landfills, such as toxic metals that can pollute ground water.
Why do you need to dispose of white goods differently to your everyday waste?
White goods contain substantial amounts of materials that can be recycled such as metals, plastics, refrigeration gasses and the like. By recycling these materials they are kept in the economy, reducing waste removal costs as well as production costs for new products.
White goods need to go through different processes in order to be recycled, compared to general paper, plastic, and tin recycling. In this recycling process, all hazardous materials need to be removed. These include liquid chemicals, gases, and heavy metals. Thereafter, the remaining metals are crushed and prepared for recycling. Copper, steel and plastic components are recycled to produce new products. This process helps to reduce unhealthy emissions that are released during the production processes of new appliances, therefore reducing pollution and implications on the environment.
How can you dispose of white goods safely?
A large number of companies that produce white goods are introducing recycling programmes, where they will take back your old appliances when you purchase something new. This way you can be sure your old white goods are disposed of and recycled correctly. Many appliance stores are also introducing e-waste drop off points for old appliances that can either be repurposed or broken down for recycling. Some retailers also offer a collection service which will collect your old white goods and recycle them correctly. Be sure to check beforehand if the service is free or offered at an additional cost.
If you choose to recycle your white goods yourself, consult your local council regarding recycling policies for white goods as well as drop off locations for recycling. Usually, you can send goods that cannot be resold to a metal recycler and they will be able to dismantle the components and recycle the materials accordingly.
Limit your disposal of white goods
It is always better to reduce consumption rather than having to recycle or throw away more. Before making the decision to throw out or recycle your old white goods, consider if they are still in working order and could be used by someone else. It is easy to give them away to family members, friends, donate to charity, or even put them up for sale online or at a local second-hand store. However, if the appliance is no longer in proper working condition, the parts can be recycled, such as the metal casing and other components.
How to minimise your white goods disposal
Start by making sustainable purchases. Only buy new appliances when necessary, to prevent increasing amounts of white goods from ending up in landfills. When purchasing new products, look for appliances with longer warranties and that are energy and water efficient. There are also certain brands that specifically manufacture their products to be friendly for recycling. Opt for these products and ask the salesperson about their recycling policy for when the product is no longer functional. Ask the salesperson as many questions as possible relating to how both your old and new appliances can be recycled.
Another way to minimise the disposal of white goods is to maintain your appliances properly. By caring for and maintaining your appliances they will last longer and be more productive. This means you will need to replace your appliances less frequently and, in turn, keep excessive amounts of harmful waste out of the ever-expanding landfills.
When purchasing new white goods, buying bigger is not usually better. Buy products that are fit for your purpose. It will also save electricity, which also contributes positively to the environment.
Every household needs white goods to live comfortably, however, when these goods are no longer needed or in working condition, they need to be disposed of or recycled correctly in order to protect the environment and reduce wastage. There are many options available to households for disposing of white goods and in turn, saving the environment through recycling.