Every year roughly 3 million fridges are disposed of within the UK (and a further three million bought). It’s estimated that the common lifespan of a fridge is eleven years, however a considerable proportion stay in use for greater than 20 years. Lots of the substances contained in fridges are very harmful for the surroundings if disposed of incorrectly. This article explains a bit extra about what those substances are, the legislation governing fridge disposal, and the assorted methods of tips on how to eliminate a fridge responsibly.
What are the harmful substances in fridges?
Most fridges made before 2000 found that the CFC molecules were being damaged down by Ultra Violet (UV) radiation and releasing a chlorine atom that was lowering ozone within the atmosphere. Ozone depletion causes elevated ranges of harmful UV-B radiation to succeed in our planet. Consequently, an international Treaty (the Montreal Protocol) was signed to part out their production.
How can I tell if my fridge accommodates harmful substances?
R11 = CFCs contained in insulation
R12 = CFCs used as a refrigerant
R22 / R141b / R142b = HCFCs contained in insulation
R134a = HFCs used as a refrigerant
What laws is relevant to house owners disposing of their outdated fridge?
There are three key pieces of laws that cover fridge disposal:
1. Obligation of Care – Waste (Family Waste) Duty of Care (England & Wales) Laws 2005 – all householders getting rid of waste (not just outdated fridges!) have an obligation of care to make sure that it is disposed of properly. In practise because of this you want either a) to take it to a licensed waste facility (eg. local civic amenity site), or b) to make sure that any third occasion you utilize to remove the waste is registered as a waste service with the Setting Agency and offers you with a appropriately accomplished Waste Transfer Note for the collection. Breach of your obligation of care is a legal offence and can even result in civil legal responsibility if your waste ends up being disposed of incorrectly (eg. fly-tipped).
2. Elimination of ODS – EC regulation 2037/2000 – all refrigeration models containing Ozone Depleting Substances (ie. CFCs and HCFCs) will need to have those ODS eliminated in a managed manner earlier than the equipment is scrapped. Failure to comply with these rules carries a fine of up to £2,500 and eligibility for prosecution.
3. Recycling and Recovery – The Waste Electrical and Digital Equipment regulations (‘WEEE Regs’) – place an obligation on manufacturers, retailers, distributors, local authorities, waste management firms, importers, exporters and business customers to reuse, recycle and recover fridge units wherever possible.
What are my choices for responsible disposal?
Here are the various ways that a householder can get rid of their outdated fridge responsibly:
Donate or Sell
Before everything, in case your previous fridge is in working order, you could give it to a good friend, neighbour or family member. There are also plenty of web sites devoted to reusing working home equipment akin to Freecycle. Some second hand sellers could also be excited by your equipment if it is in good condition. You may also promote it yourself by placing an advert within the native paper, on a neighborhood web site resembling Gumtree or open up to a wider viewers utilizing eBay. There might be problems with these strategies together with difficulties arranging transportation for cumbersome items. It’s also worth noting that almost all of fridges nonetheless comprise substances that may very well be harmful if handled incorrectly.
Take to the Native Tip / Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC)
When you’re feeling robust and have appropriate transport (beware of the danger of chemical spillage!), you’ll be able to take your outdated fridge to your native civic amenity website / HWRC for disposal free of charge. Be sure that to test beforehand although whether your HWRC website accepts fridges as a result of not all do.
Electrical Retailer’s Service
If you’ve bought a brand new fridge, the retailer could supply a service to take the outdated one away when the new one is delivered. Expect to pay a further £15-£30 for the service.
Native Authority Assortment Service
As a resident, your native council is obliged to offer a group service for your outdated fridge. The good news is that councils do not tend to charge an excessive amount of to do that (eg. London borough of Barnet expenses £40) however the draw back is that response occasions are usually fairly sluggish (normally at the least a week or two) and you will have to move the fridge outdoors your self previous to collection.
Waste Removing Company
Alternatively you possibly can contact a specialist waste elimination firm to take away your fridge. The advantage of using a specialist is that their response occasions needs to be much be faster than the council, they can collect from within the property, and clearly they will do all of the manhandling for you. You need to expect to pay round £40-£50 + VAT for the service. Beware of anybody charging lower than this because the precise prices to waste contractors of disposing of fridges are relatively high, so decrease prices most likely indicate improper disposal. In any occasion, to fulfil your Duty of Care remember to test they’re properly licensed with the Setting Company and to ask for a Waste Switch Word detailing your assortment and specifying the waste removed was a fridge.
What happens to a fridge when it’s recycled?
Fridges are deconstructed inside a sealed environment in order that any Ozone Depleting Substances may be safely removed. The remaining materials are separated mechanically into individual product streams including plastics, ferrous and non-ferrous metals and foam to be recycled or reused. Here’s a extra detailed abstract of what occurs:
1. The fridges are shredded in an enclosed nitrogen ambiance and CFC gases current within the insulating foam are launched
2. The shredded contents are dried and the CFCs and nitrogen are captured and carried off for separating
3. Insulating foam powder is separated by a sieve and is collected for disposal
4. Ferrous steel is separated by an overhead magnet and non-ferrous steel is separated from the plastics for recycling
5. CFCs are separated from the nitrogen by cooling to -160 centigrade when the CFCs liquefy and might then be destroyed by high temperature incineration