Knowing when to repair or replace your whitegoods

Is your washing machine past its best? Whether you repair and sell, recycle or give it away, here’s how to get rid of your whitegoods sustainably.

Your Home
5 min read
Is it time for your fridge, TV or washing machine to find a new home?

We’re not usually delighted to realise it’s time to retire a major appliance. They can be expensive to replace, for one, and they’re a hassle to move. Add to that the environmental concerns presented by heavy metals and potentially hazardous gases, and it can be all a bit much.

With that in mind, it makes sense to see if your old appliance can start a new life with another family, be repaired or recycled.

Finding a new home

If you’re keen to sell an old appliance that’s still working, make a listing on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. With a few pictures and some points on your item’s condition, you shouldn’t struggle to make a sale. Alternatively, a quick Google search will direct you to any secondhand dealers in your area who might collect, repair and sell your appliance.

You could also look into charity shops like the Salvation Army or Save the Children. While they don’t all take whitegoods, many larger stores do – just make sure your item is in good working order. If you’re feeling locally-minded, you could also find a local Facebook group and see if someone nearby would like it.

Young woman having a cup of coffee while using her smartphone

Remember, if you wouldn’t give it to a friend, don’t pass it on – the charity you choose or the person who picks it up will then just have to pay to dispose of it.

Ask your seller to take the old fridge

Some appliance companies operate take-back schemes for their products with the costs often built into the purchase price. If you’re replacing the appliance, service personnel may also remove appliances such as air conditioners as part of new installations.

In other cases, recycling companies may offer a free pick-up of old appliances as they contain valuable metals. They recover disposal costs through the resale of these components.

Repairing whitegoods

While you might not know how to fix the light on your fridge or stop your washing machine leaking, someone near you probably does. And one repaired appliance can prevent as much as 24 kilograms of CO2 emissions, according to University of Surrey research, so it’s worth looking into.

There are 30 Repair Cafes across Australia where you can learn to fix things yourself for free. These sustainably-minded community organisations provide tools, materials and experts to help people repair their household items. Even if it turns out to be a bigger job than that, the skilled volunteers there might be able to point you to a professional who can help.

One repaired appliance can prevent as much as 24 kilograms of CO2 emissions.

If you have an old fridge in the garage for drinks, we now know that’s not an efficient use of energy. According to Canstar Blue, fridges account for 13% of a household’s power usage. It doesn’t make sense to double that, especially when you consider that fridges are now 70% more efficient than they were 30 years ago.

Taking whitegoods to the tip

If your long-serving washing machine or your hard-working fridge really is at the end of its useful life, dispose of it the right way. Rules and costs for disposal of whitegoods vary by local area, but some recycling centres will accept them for free with proof of residence.

Plus, you’ll know you’re doing the right thing – recycling means the materials can be used again and prevents harmful substances making their way into the environment.

A quick look at Recycling Near You will point you towards your local refuse centre.

Mother with her son using a digital tablet

The real cost of running appliances

Find out how much it’s really costing to run your appliances, and how you can reduce the energy you use.

Learn more