From the outside, your fridge might look like a complicated but safe box for cooling. But if the piece of appliance is taken apart in an unprofessional and inexperienced way, it could release a lot of harmful substances that, if not handled properly, could hurt our environment and the ozone layer of the Earth.
With global warming getting worse, it’s more important than ever to find ways to get rid of your old appliances that are better for the environment. If you’re sure that a fridge freezer repair isn’t an option and you don’t know how to install one, then we can help! Check out our simple guide on how to get rid of old appliances, and if you’re getting a new fridge or freezer, you might want to hire a fridge repair Edmonton to set it up for you.
But first, let’s look at why your home appliance is so dangerous in the first place.
There are dangerous things in your fridge that you can’t see.
Let’s think about this for a minute: a recent study found that UK households throw away about three (3) million fridges every year! Even though most of them last longer than the expected 11 years, and some even last 20 years or longer, only a small portion of them are recycled safely or at all. This means that every day, a lot of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are put into the air.
Now that we know that, let’s look at why that last point is so important.
The environment and CFCs and HCFCs
In the 20th century, these two man-made compounds were thought to be safe to use in aerosol sprays, refrigerators (as insulating foam or refrigerant), and other products. But even though they don’t have any toxins and aren’t flammable, it was just found that CFC molecules can break apart when exposed to ultraviolet light.
By doing this, they let out an atom of chlorine that hurts the ozone layer. This means that the reaction can be caused by any long-term exposure to sunlight. To stop this from happening, a treaty called the Montreal Protocol was made so that CFC and HCFC substances could no longer be made.
How to find out if your refrigerator has CFCs
If your appliance was made in the 1990s or before, it probably has Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) like the compounds already mentioned. Check the plate on the front of your fridge to find out who made it, what model it is, and its serial number. The plate should also tell you what kind of fridge repair Edmonton .
CFCs and HCFCs are made up of many different things, like carbon, fluorine, hydrogen, and chlorine. Different codes are used to classify the substances based on when they were first made.
The most common codes are:
- R11: CFCs that were in the insulation of fridges before 1994.
- R12: CFCs that were used as a coolant before 1994.
- R22, R141b, and R142b are HCFCs that were used in fridge insulation after 1994. R134a is an HCFC that was used as a refrigerant after 1994.
How Can I Get Rid of My Fridge in a Safe and Responsible Way?
Sell it or give it away.
As long as your fridge still works, you could take it to a friend’s house or your neighbor’s house. You could also make extra money by going to a local used goods store for a quick evaluation.
There are websites whose only goal is to find working appliances and reuse them. And finally, you can always put your fridge up for sale on online sites like Gumtree and eBay, though it might be hard to get your fridge there.
Go to your local center to recycle household waste.
This will only work if you have a good vehicle and enough beer to pay your friends to help you. Make sure to call the HWRC ahead of time to see if they actually take fridges. Then, make sure your old appliance is ready to go so that chemicals don’t spill out on the way.
Hire the services of a store that sells electrical goods.
If you just bought a new fridge (which you probably did), the store where you bought it could offer to take away your old one when your new one arrives. Since this is an extra service, make sure you have £15 or £30 on you when the delivery crew comes.
Tell your local government.
Even though this is a cheap way to get rid of your fridge, you should be aware that most councils are known for taking a long time to respond. This means you might have to wait up to two weeks or longer for confirmation. Also, the trash collectors won’t come into your home, so you’ll have to move the fridge outside.
Hire a professional to take away your fridge.
Your waste removal company will be much faster than your local government, but the price will also be a little bit higher. But the people who take away your trash will be able to pick up your fridge right from your home, saving you a lot of time and a sore back.
When looking for a company, make sure they have a license from the official Environment Agency and call them to see if they can give you a detailed notice of when they will pick up your trash. If they can’t, and their services aren’t very expensive, they might throw away your fridge in a dangerous way.
When your fridge gets to a recycling center, what happens?
Recycling almost anything is hard, and this is especially true for things like refrigerators. But the end result is more than impressive: over 95% of the refrigerator will be fully recycled, whether it has Ozone Depleting Substances or not.
When your fridge gets to the recycling center, it is taken apart in a sealed area. Putting aside the technical jargon, this is how a safe fridge is recycled:
The compressor is taken apart. Then, under a vacuum, all the oils and gases are taken away.
- Ultrasonic equipment is used to separate the CFCs from the oil.
- The refrigerator is shredded in a special place, which lets the CFC gases inside escape.
- The gases are filtered out, and the contents that have been shredded are dried.
- The powdery insulation from the fridge is sieved and collected so it can be thrown away.
- Plastics are separated from metals that don’t contain iron so that they can be recycled.
- The CFC gases are cooled to -160 Celsius, which is very cold. This turns them into a liquid that can be safely evaporated at high temperatures in a special incinerator unit.
There are three rules in the Canada about how to get rid of a fridge in a safe way.
In the United Kingdom, the government has passed three laws about how to recycle fridges in a responsible way. Below, we’ll take a quick look at each of these.
Waste Duty of Care Regulations 2005 is the name of a law that applies to all household trash in England and Wales, including refrigerators. Basically, it says that when it comes to legally getting rid of the trash, homeowners have two options:
You need to give it to a place that is licensed to take trash (for example HWRCs).
You can hire a professional company, but it has to be approved by the Environment Agency, and give you the right waste transfer notes.
If you don’t follow this rule, it’s a crime, and you could be sued in civil court if your fridge or other trash wasn’t thrown away in an environmentally friendly way.
Getting rid of ODS rules
Removal of ODS 2037/2000 is a regulation made by the European Commission that says all refrigeration units with CFC or other harmful substances should have those substances safely removed before they can be recycled.
This can only happen in very controlled environments, like recycling centers, so if you leave your refrigerator near a dumpster, you could get a fine of up to £2,500 and even be prosecuted.
Rules about recycling and recovery
They are called “The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment” regulations, and they require everyone who makes, sells, distributes, or gets rid of electronic equipment to either send used appliances to recycling centers or include them in different reuse programs whenever possible.
One Last Thing
Our species is leaving a bigger and bigger mark on the environment, so it’s more important than ever to think in an eco-friendly way. And it could all begin with your old fridge, whether it works or not. But before you do the right thing and set an example for those around you, do your research and make sure that your fridge will end up in a recycling center and not two blocks away.
Give it to someone who really needs it if it still works. It won’t cost you anything, and you’ll be helping to cut down on how many refrigerators are made each year.
Did you learn anything from this? Do you know of any other safe ways to get rid of fridges? Tell us in the comments section below. Now, go help save our planet by working with others.
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