January 23, 2023

Refrigerator removal

Refrigerator removal and the circular economy

Winter arrived in Brighton big-style! When the mercury dips below freezing it not only impacts our heating bills, it is also bad news for our fridges and freezers.  Yes, you heard that right, fridges don’t like the cold!

Where can I get rid of a fridge?

The combination of a big bulky refrigerator, freezing weather and strict removal and disposal regulations can present a problem.  You can forget dumping this type of appliance by the side of the road or even paying a white-van man to take it to the local tip, as each appliance has a registration number that can be traced back to the buyer. Fridge removal must be carried out in accordance with the Environmental Agency (EA) regulations or you can incur hefty fines, ranging between £300 and £10,000!

Why do refrigerators hate the cold?

Just like people, fridges like a warm ambient temperature. This is because, contrary to popular belief, fridges don’t blow cold air inside, they take warm air out until the inside is cool. This is achieved by gas and oil. Fridges rely on the boiling of refrigerant under pressure and heat. If the temperature goes below 60 degrees it takes more energy to heat the refrigerant and change into a vapour. The energy consumption increases with the decreasing temperature, which is why so many pack up during the winter.

The circular economy

The circular economy is a means of ensuring all elements of recycled items, such as refrigerators can be reused, thereby cutting waste, saving resources and saving money. All of which are crucial for the long-term protect of the planet. Everyone needs to do their part, specifically waste management professionals.

Waste management is much more than just relocating objects and moving waste from one location to another. It is about safe practices, both on site and in the disposal of all items. Apart from the inconvenience of lugging a fridge around in  the back of van, a professional waste disposal team will ensure it ends up at one of the UK’s 14 approved fridge recycling plant, where it will be stripped, crushed and reusable elements sold accordingly.

Why all the fuss?

We don’t want to blind you with science but here are just a few of the compounds that need to be handled with care when disposing of a refrigerator. All refrigeration appliances: domestic, commercial and industrial contact oil and gas that need to be extracted so that they can reused on new models.

Domestic refrigerators and freezers (pre-1995) contain dangerous ozone-depleting substances and greenhouses chlorofluorocarbon (CFS) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerants. Although later models use more ozone-friendly hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants; these are still greenhouse gasses that must be handled with care. Similarly, blowing agents such as a cyclopentane and isopentane and hydrocarbon refrigerants need to be removed in accordance with the WEEE recycling regulations (Directive 2012/19/EU).

Safe fridge and freezer removal

An average domestic refrigerator contains 125g of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC - R12) and 312g of CFC-R11. This has the Global Warming Potential (GWP) equivalent to the emissions of an average sized car travelling 17,00km (approx. 2.8 tonnes of CO2). It is estimated that there are around 200million fridges and freezes with chlorofluorocarbon still in operation throughout Europe, with an equivalency of 560 mega tonnes of CO2!

Environmental Agency Compliance

Now it becomes clearer why it is essential to contract the services of a fully compliant waste management service. The rules are in place to prevent the release of dangerous elements into the ground and atmosphere that can be harmful to humans, wildlife and the environment, not to make life more difficult!

G&S Clearance requests annual inspections from the Environmental Agency to ensure the company is completely compliant and up to date on new WEEE recycling legislation. To qualify for the EA permits (in accordance with BAT regulations), companies such as a G&S Clearance must demonstrate that the correct systems are in place, such as providing Duty of Care documents to each client. Clear documentation has to outline; who collected the fridge, where from and where it was taken to.  

If the client cannot provide these documents, they could be liable for a hefty fine for not disposing of the fridge safely.

For information about G&S Clearances industrial, domestic and commercial fridge removal and WEEE recycling services visit our website www.gsclearance.co.uk or call 01273 303 278.

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