Why Do Fridges Need To Be Recycled?
Fridges need to be recycled because they contain substances that have a harmful effect on the environment, and in particular can lead to the depletion of the ozone layer. The various metals and other materials that make up the fridge also have a monetary value once they have been recycled.
Both the coolant and insulation foam can contain ODS (ozone depleting substances) This means that recycling of fridges needs to be carried out under strictly controlled conditions, in order to not release them in to the atmosphere.
While ozone is poisonous to humans if inhaled or ingested, in the top layers of the atmosphere it is necessary as a vital protection against harmful ultra violet radiation emitted from the sun.
New fridges should not contain ODS, however older fridges which are reaching the end of there lifespan and need to be recycled probably will contain harmful substances.
Collection Of Your Fridge:
Fridges from domestic properties can usually be taken to household waste recycling centres, where they will then be collected by a licensed waste recycling firm.
Your local council will probably provide a bulky items collection service, if you are unable to take your fridge to one of these centres yourself.
When you buy a new fridge you can arrange for the company to collect your old fridge as they drop off your new one, although a charge may apply.
How Are Fridges Recycled?
Special pliers are used to puncture the cooling circuit and extract the liquid coolant (a mixture of oils and ODS) in to a secure container.
The compressor and cooling circuit are removed manually, as well as internal items such as trays, grates, door seals, mercury switches, plugs and cables.
The fridge is now ready for shredding in a sealed chamber. Nitrogen is injected into the shredder to prevent possible explosions caused by high dust concentrations.
After shredding, the ODS rich nitrogen is collected and the ODS is condensed and contained.
The shredded materials are then separated by properties, such as weight, density, buoyancy and magnetic properties.
Recovered ODS are incinerated at high temperatures to destroy the chlorine and prevent further environmental damage.