Our site uses cookies to give you the best experience. Manage your cookies here or continue shopping if you're happy.

Accept & close
Skip to Content

    Recycling the AO way

    Not only do we want to reduce our impact on the environment, we know our customers do, too. That’s why we make it a doddle to recycle, whether you bought your appliance from us or not.

    We’ll take all kinds of large household appliances off your hands, so you don’t have to worry about carting them off to the tip. Once we have them back at our £20m, in-house recycling facility, our experts use the most trusted techniques to process as much as possible – right down to the smallest nuts and bolts. Everything is carefully broken down and sorted into metals, plastics, and insulation foam, ready for the next phase in its lifecycle.

    Why recycle?

    Hundreds and thousands of electricals are dumped illegally in the UK every year.

    Most of them could be reused or recycled. But even when they are, research shows that appliances are often not recycled properly. That’s why we opened our own recycling plant and why we’re on a mission to help you recycle your old electricals responsibly – the AO way.

    Why choose us?

    Since 2016 we have recycled over six million appliances making AO the UK’s largest recycler of fridges and large appliances. Since then, it’s been our goal to set a new standard for the electricals industry.

    What we do

    Our state-of-the-art, award-winning recycling plant in Shropshire is home to a team of expert AOers; from engineers who revamp old appliances, to scientists who refine plastic from old fridges.

    How we do it

    Here’s how we recycle fridges, which we believe is one of the safest, cleanest and most efficient processes in the UK…

    Step 1

    The refrigerant and oil inside the motor are carefully removed. To do this, we manually drill into the fridge’s internal workings and drain everything away.

    Step 2

    The motor is removed using giant, heavy-duty cutters and sent away for recycling.

    Step 3

    The rest of the fridge is then sent into a sealed chamber to extract the gases in the fridge’s insulation foam. To do this, oxygen is removed and replaced with nitrogen to prevent anything from igniting.

    Step 4

    The fridge is then dropped inside a massive, heavy-duty shredder – a bit like a huge kitchen blender. This then breaks the outer shell of the fridge into smaller pieces. The insulation foam is smashed into powder to release more of the gases.

    Step 5

    The rest of the fridge’s remains are dropped onto a heated conveyor belt below. The heat helps to release and neutralise any leftover gases.

    Step 6

    Nitrogen is used to condense the gases into liquid so they can be safely sent away for disposal elsewhere.

    Step 7

    What’s left of the fridge is sent through four different filtration systems to separate the different materials from one another.

    Step 8

    Plastics, metals and foam are sorted into individual storage containers. These are then shipped on to be recycled into other products – maybe even another fridge!

    Repair and Refurbishment

    To prevent goods from being prematurely recycled, we prioritise repairing and refurbishing appliances. We’re partnered with award-winning online parts store eSpares to help our customers find spare parts for their appliances so that there’s no need to buy a new product unnecessarily.

    When an appliance is sent for recycling with us, we inspect it and make repairs wherever possible. This is a more sustainable solution for appliances that aren’t quite ready for end-of-life treatment, because keeping them in circulation longer avoids unnecessary waste.

    We are one of a small number of companies globally to be certified to the highest European standards for correctly turning waste electricals into reusable appliances. Once our experts have skilfully repaired good quality, durable appliances, we then sell them at heavily discounted prices through our AO outlet website and third-party outlets. We like to think of them as pre-loved appliances because after the leave us, they go to new homes to carry on doing their job. Here you can browse and buy the pre-loved appliances from a variety of well-known manufacturers.

    Shop AO Outlet

    Collect & Recycle

    We’ll pick up your old appliance and recycle it for you

    Find out more