Answering Questions on Recycling Refrigerated Appliances
Think about the refrigerated appliances used in your home or office? Today we have fridge-freezers, fridges, side-by-side fridge-freezers, chest freezers, wine cooler, mini fridges, air-conditioners, humidifier and water coolers. They are really convenience and make home and work life uncomplicated. The fact is, fridges and freezers are now taken for granted until it’s time to renew or replace them.
When a fridge of any sort comes to the end of its life its important that appliance owners, buyers and users play their part in protecting the environmental by safeguarding against reckless appliance disposal. It’s worth remembering refrigerated appliances can be hazardous if not recycled correctly by authorised, licensed and experienced recyclers.
Below you will find some of the reasons why!
- Household appliances may contain hazardous components including used oil and mercury. For example, cooling circuits contains oil which ca be contaminated with ODS refrigerant. Some refrigerators and chest freezers manufactured prior to the year 2000 have mercury-containing components (i.e., switches and relays).
- If improperly disposed of, used oil and dissolved refrigerant oil from refrigerated appliances can be release resulting in contaminated soil and/or groundwater.
- Exposure to used oil or dissolved refrigerant can result in health concerns.
- If leaking or damaged appliances are dumped mercury can leak and accumulates in plants and animal life. When consumed by humans this can lead to health concerns.
- A variety of toxic substances (carcinogenic and non-cancerous) when release in a non-controlled environment can cause health concerns for humans.
- The use of refrigerated appliances over the years has increased risk of climate change mainly due to the used and improper disposal of greenhouse gases.
- Refrigerators and freezers manufactured before 2005 are insulated with foam that contains ODS that contribute to both ozone depletion and climate change.
How to we dispose of an old appliance in an environmentally responsible way?
Electrical appliances retailers offer appliance take back schemes and sometimes offer a pick-up and disposal services with the purchase and delivery of a new model.
Some retailers may allow you to drop off the old appliance at the retail establishment so it worth checking it out in your area.
Civic amenity sites take dual purpose home and office electrical items including large household appliances free once you can transport them.
Trained and authorised appliance repair services and service engineers can decommission, remove and sometimes repair, damaged appliances safely.
Almost all the materials in your refrigerator or freezer can be recycled. This includes the metal cabinet, plastic liner, glass shelves, the refrigerant and oil in the compressor, and the blowing agent contained in polyurethane foam insulation. Appliance recycling typically entails recovery of refrigerant and removal of hazardous components followed by shredding of evacuated appliances. It important say, refrigerant and compressors should only be removed by trained individuals.
When you recycle with an authorised recycler it means your fridge will be disposed of correctly and not just buried in the ground.
What typically happens to my old refrigerator or freezer once I get rid of it?
- After appliances are collected they are transferred to a large recycling facility for licensed breakdown.
- On occasion refrigerated appliances that are in working condition are refurbished and resold domestically or abroad. This is not always a good option.
- Older appliances consume greater amounts of electricity and are less efficient toward the end of their life. Where possible appliance re-sale should be avoided to save energy over the longer term.
- Freeze units resold in developing countries is a short-term solution as their ultimate disposal is less likely to be carried out responsibly.
- When disposing of a refrigerated appliance, inquire about the disposal practices of the organisation removing your unit to ensure that it will be disposed of responsibly.
- If you learn about illegal or suspect activities (e.g., refrigerant venting, you can file a report or complaint with the National Environmental Complaints Line
- You can always call or email recycle IT to get more information or to book an authorised collection of old domestic or office based refrigeration appliance or any waste electrical or electronic equipment (WEEE).
Remember unauthorised curb-side or door to door collectors might improperly vent refrigerant or otherwise dispose of the electrical appliance in an unsafe manner so please use an authorised service to recycle your old fridge and other electrical and electronic equipment.
About Recycle IT
Recycle IT is the only Community Electronic Recycling Social Enterprise in Dublin providing a community collection service for all types of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). Recycle IT offered collection services to 100,000 homes and organisations across Dublin and surrounding areas each year collecting a range of WEEE including monitors, TV’s and much more.
Our award-winning services are supported by South Dublin Country Council, South Dublin Country Partnership and provided in partnership with WEEE Ireland. We are authorized by the National Waste Collection Permit Office and the local authority.