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Tuesday, 2 October 2023

Disposal of bulky items

If you have to dispose of a bulky item like an old sofa, fridge or cooker, you should ensure it's done safely. Otherwise, the item may cause accidents or harm the environment. Find out what your options are for getting rid of large items.

Arrange for the collection of bulky items

The following link takes you to your local council website. You will be able to find out about your council’s service for bulky items, and arrange a collection. You may have to pay for this - each council charges differently.

Before you organise a collection, you may like to think about whether:

  • someone else could make use of the item
  • it could be repaired and last a bit longer

How to dispose of a bulky item

Some charities accept bulky items - and some will collect for free

You have a few options for getting rid of a large household item like a fridge, freezer or sofa. The best options – for the environment and for good causes – are to repair the item or donate it.

Give it to friends or family, or sell it

Many people pass on items of furniture to their friends or family. If the item is in good condition, you could also consider selling it through a local classified ads paper, or through internet sites.

Give it to charity

In some areas, local charities may accept bulky items if they are in good condition. To find someone to donate to:

  • contact the Furniture Re-use Network to donate furniture to low-income families in your area
  • search online for a charity in your area that accepts bulky items – eg the British Heart Foundation offers collections of bulky items
  • check with your council for other organisations that accept furniture and appliances

Organisations have different rules on what they accept and some may make a charge for collection. Others can provide help if you can’t move the item yourself. Check with the organisation for details.

Give it away through a free online exchange site

You can also give items away to individuals through websites like Freecycle, Freegle and It is free to list items on these sites, and the recipient will come and collect the item.

Find out more about passing on all sorts of household items, including computers and even paint, in ‘Reducing waste, reusing and repairing’.

Get your local authority to pick it up

If you’re a householder, your waste collection authority (usually your council) must provide a collection service for bulky items. However, they can charge for this service. Each council sets its own charges.

Check with your council to find out:

  • what items they accept
  • if they will collect items from inside your home
  • if they can provide help if you’re unable to move the item yourself

It helps your council if you ensure the item is emptied and cleaned before it’s picked up.

Get locations and opening times of recycling centres near you

Take it to the waste and recycling centre

You can also take your appliance to your local waste and recycling centre – sometimes known as a civic amenity site, the ‘tip’ or the ‘dump’. Your item will be disposed of safely and free-of-charge. Try to ensure the item is emptied and cleaned beforehand.

Waste and recycling centres are run by local councils. You can find your nearest centre, and its opening hours, on your council’s website. The link ‘Find your nearest recycling centre’ takes you to the relevant council information page.

Use a local trader – but choose one carefully

You could use a local trader to collect and dispose of your appliance. You can help the environment by checking that they intend to dispose of it in accordance with the law. If you are unsure, contact your local office of the Environment Agency (08459 333111) or your council.

Don’t fly-tip it

Remember fly-tipping is illegal. Dumped fridges and freezers pose a real hazard to small children or pets, who may be harmed or become trapped inside.

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