Where do I take a broken washing machine or an old television?
The washing machine doesn’t spin properly, and the old CRT television is well past its prime. You’ve ordered the new appliances, so it’s time to dispose of the old ones. The first option is to repair your appliances instead of throwing them away; the second is to dispose of them. Large appliances obviously don’t belong in regular household waste – and certainly shouldn’t just be abandoned somewhere outdoors.
While old televisions or broken clothes dryers may not seem to be good for much beyond collecting dust, they are actually valuable sources of raw materials that should be recovered and reused.
What counts as a “large appliance”?
According to the WEEE directive, a device or appliance is considered “large” if any of its sides are longer than 50 cm. For example, this would include washing machines, electric stoves, display devices, refrigerators, dishwashers, etc.
Mobile storage heaters that are not permanently installed are also considered to be “large appliances” for the purposes of the WEEE directive. Because devices of this type sometimes contain asbestos, we have provided more information about them on the following page: “Storage heaters“.
Buy a new appliance, return the old one free of charge
Large appliances are generally ordered, then delivered by the dealer. All dealers and delivery companies are required to take the old appliance away for free and bring it to an appropriate recycling facility. This also applies when appliances are ordered over the Internet; in this case, sellers must offer the option to drop off the old appliance of the same type at a local collection centre. Of course, appliances that are ordered by mail can also be dropped off for free at any collection centre.
But if you pick up your new television at the shop and bring it home yourself, you can return the old appliance to the dealer right when you buy the new one. Consumers cannot be charged for this service. The only requirement is that the shop’s retail area must be larger than 150 m². However, smaller businesses frequently offer this service as well, even though they are not legally required to do so. If a smaller business does not take back used devices, it must explicitly inform consumers of this fact with appropriate signage at the shop entrance.
An extensive network of collection centres
The second option is to dispose of your appliance at one of Austria’s more than 2000 municipal collection centres, often known as “Mistplätze” (rubbish sites), “Recyclinghöfe” (recycling yards), or “Abfallzentren” (waste centres). To find the collection centre closest to you, contact your municipality or use our Collection Centre Finder.
Dropping off appliances at collection centres is free. Trained collection centre staff decides whether your appliance can still be repaired and reused, or whether it should be sent off for recycling. Waste appliances are picked up from the collection centres by registered waste collection companies, then taken to disassembly plants or processing facilities, where hazardous substances are removed and various valuable raw materials are separated out and recycled.