Refrigerators tend to have a long lifespan; while the average life may be 11 years, there are a lot of fridges that last in excess of 20 years. Despite this, approximately three million fridges are disposed of in the United Kingdom every year, and so another three million are bought. When the time comes to get rid of your refrigerator, no matter whether it has broken or you simply fancy an upgrade, you need to dispose of it responsibly. There are a lot of substances within fridges that are extremely harmful if they are not disposed of correctly, and, therefore, this can have a highly negative impact on the environment. Read on to find out more.
Fridges that were made before 2000 are even more harmful, as they contain Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS), such as Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and Chlorofluorocarbons (CDCs). These are both manmade compounds and they contain the likes of hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine, and carbon. The reason they are no longer used is that it was found that they were responsible for lowering ozone in the atmosphere. This is because Ultra Violet (UV) radiation was breaking down the CFC molecules and this was leading to a harmful chlorine atom being released.
Even if your fridge was made after 2000, you still need to dispose of it from your home in a safe manner. This is because refrigerators are part of the e-waste problem. This is a huge global issue. In the UK, more than 1.2 million tonnes of electrical and electronic waste is disposed of per annum. To put this into perspective, this would fill the new Wembley Stadium six times every year. It is also the equivalent of 150,000 double-decker buses. A large proportion of this e-waste is not disposed of correctly, which leads to resources being wasted and harmful chemicals and substances being leaked into the environment, which can cause health issues.
So, how can you make sure your fridge is disposed of correctly? There are several different options you have at your disposal:
• Use the services of a waste removal company – This is the best way to ensure your fridge is going to be disposed of in a safe and efficient manner, and you can read more here. Yes, it will cost you a bit of money, but it is the easiest and most effective option. These businesses are trained in the safe disposal of electronic and electrical items, and, therefore, you can be sure you are in safe hands.
• Call your local council – There may be a collection service in the area for e-waste, and thus it is worth giving your local council a call.
• Donate or sell your fridge – If your fridge is in working order, why not pass it on to someone else? You could sell your fridge to make a little bit of money. Alternatively, you could donate it to a friend or a charity. There are many people who would love to have your old fridge despite the fact that you no longer have a use for it.
• Ask the retailer of your new fridge to take your old one away – Under the WEEE Regulations, retailers have a duty to assist with e-waste disposal. Ask the retailer of your new fridge if they would be able to take your old one away.