45  Refrigeration equipment

All liquids as well as gases must be recycled from fridges, says EU Commissioner 

No confusion now on what must safely be removed from fridges!   EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said that there is a “clear obligation to remove liquid hydrocarbons, such as cyclopentane, from fridges and freezers”.  Referring to Article 6(1) of the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive, he said in a letter of clarification: “The term “removal of all fluids” makes it clear that not only the gases mentioned in Annex II no.2 are to be extracted from refrigeration equipment, but also any kind of liquid contained in the cooling circuits or insulation materials of such equipment.”   Source: Materials Recycling Week

efrigerator and freezer cabinets, air conditioners and dehumidifiers differ from other electrical appliances in that they contain a refrigerant - essentially a gas which liquefies easily. Ammonia was the original choice when the technology was invented in the mid-19th century, and continues to be used in large fixed plant. It is, however, flammable and toxic in large doses. Consequently, from the 1930s, smaller, portable appliances began to use CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) - synthetic, non-toxic, non-flammable alternatives which appeared to be ideal. They found further uses as aerosol propellants, as foam blowing agents, in dry cleaning, and for printed circuit board cleaners, and were produced in large quantities for the next 60 years.

Following realisation of the likely damage to the ozone layer by such materials, and very effective campaigning by Friends of the Earth and other groups, the Montreal Protocol in 1987 led to the development of alternatives for all uses, and ceased production of many categories of CFCs in developed nations in 1995, although effects in the upper atmosphere continue. 

Whilst still far from satisfactory, there are now opportunities for recovering  CFCs and HCFCs (also ozone-damaging) gases and insulation from sealed refrigeration units - domestic sized refrigerators and freezers, often at civic amenity sites.  About 'fridge mountains', apparently caused by the UK's lack of storage and recycling plants which exist in other European countries, we will say no more here....

More information on gases used in refrigeration that damage the ozone layer and affect the climate can be found at www.iwm.co.uk/pma/2039 and at www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/topics/fridges/faq.htm 

Many local authorities now have arrangements with companies who will, where possible, refurbish fridges for re-use, or alternatively, ensure the metals and other components are recycled after safe removal of CFCs and HCFCs.

Some branches of the retailer Comet will collect your old fridge and deliver it to Ozone Friends, listed below, where, if possible, it will be reconditioned and sold.

Also see
Local government services (160)

Alphabetical list of organisations

BOC Gases

Tel 01483 579857 Fax 01483 505211
The Priestley Centre, 10 Priestley Road, Surrey Research Park GUILDFORD, Surrey GU2 5XY

Refrigerant gas supplier.

British Refrigeration Association

Tel 01628 531186 Fax 01628 810423
Sterling House, 6 Furlong Road, BOURNE END, Bucks SL8 5DG

Trade association representing manufacturers, distributors, specifiers and end users of refrigeration equipment.

Bywaters (Leyton) Ltd

Tel 0208 558 1141 Fax 0208 558 9109 / 0208 558 9205
Auckland Road, Leyton, LONDON E10 5NB

General waste disposal services.  CFC reclamation from refrigeration equipment.  ESA member.

(Community Recycling and Training - Tottenham)  
Tel  0208 885 6209  /  IT hotline 0208 808 4787   Fax 0208 808 5046  
Email  info@createtottenham.info, info.tottenham@createuk.com, margaret.symister@createuk.com  
Website  www.createuk.com  
18 Ashley Road, Tottenham, LONDON N17 9LJ  
Contact  Margaret Symister, Business Development Manager  

Electrical goods re-use, refurbishment and recycling facility.  Provides: re-use and (if reuse is not possible) recycling; low cost goods; and employment training, as a social business.  Built in a converted former factory on a brownfield site.  Appliances include fridges, cookers and washing machines, resold at reasonable prices.  Also computers and accessories, TVs, VCRs and HiFi.  Community groups or small businesses (in the Haringey or Enfield Objective two area) receive IT support at subsidised rates: PC’s from £99, network installation and support, on site repairs and training.  Raw materials including copper, aluminium and steel are recovered from recycled appliances, for smelting and use in new products.  Any CFC gases are removed from fridges and freezers before recycling.  Offers sale by telephone, but as each item differs prefers people choose from their factory outlet.  Since opening has handled over 17,800 appliances; over 2000 have been resold and over 3000 exported or sold wholesale.  71 trainees have been recruited; 47 found other jobs due to skills developed, and 38 gained NVQs.  Works with people at disadvantage in labour markets.  Quarterly newsletter, available online.  Aims to help achieve the 4kg per head of population per year WEEE collection target for recycling.  Contracted to clean and transport refrigeration products for Haringey Council: handled over 2000 fridges, freezers or fridge freezers during part of 2002 alone, over 10% being refurbished, avoiding disposal costs; works with the council to increase refurbishment rates.  Launched by Michael Meacher Nov 1999 as a partnership between CREATE UK, Dixons Stores, Haringey Council, Tottenham Community Pathways, and College of North East London.  Still a partnership of public, private and charitable sectors, now including London Remade, Urban Futures, and Neighbourhood Renewal Fund.  Open 8am-6pm Mon-Thur, 8am-5pm Fri, 10am-2pm Sat; 5 minutes walk from Tottenham Hale Station.  (Updated Mar 2004)

EMR (European Metal Recycling Ltd)
Tel 01925 715400  Fax 01925 713470 / 80
Email Ken.Norman@emrltd.com  Website www.emrltd.com  
Sirius House, Delta Crescent, Westbrook, WARRINGTON, Cheshire WA5 7NS 
Contact  Ken Norman  

UK's largest electrical goods recycler, handling over 300,000 tonnes of predominantly white goods, computers and cable annually.  Unparalleled logistics and investment, leader in shredding post-consumer durables, high-tech granulation and dense media separation of mixed materials for private and public sectors.  Recycles materials and/or components for white goods, other domestic appliances, brown goods, IT and office equipment. Also handles railway carriages, shipping, engineering contracts, military hardware, cable granulation, factory contracts and environmental consultancy (Mayer Environmental Ltd).  Collection countrywide, no minimum load, charge negotiable.  Depots UK wide; SE includes Brentford, Canning Town, Croydon, East Tilbury, Great Yarmouth, Kettering, Kingsbury, Newmarket, Northampton, Norwich, Park Royal, Plymouth, Rochester, Shoreham, Southampton, Swindon, Thames Wharf, Tilbury Dock, Tottenham, Wandsworth, Willesden, Woburn.
(Updated Oct 2004)

Environmental Storage Solutions
Tel 01933 222826  Fax 01933 273303
Email dclingo@ess22.freeserve.co.uk 
Unit 21, The Leyland Trading Estate, WELLINGBOROUGH, Northants NN8 1RT
Contact  David Clingo

Recycles white goods and equipment, refrigeration equipment, other domestic appliances, brown goods (TV, audio), office and IT equipment, recycling materials and/or components.  Specialist in granulation, cathode ray tube recycling, and precious metal refining.  Dismantling prior to recycling.  Collection countrywide, full loads only, charge dependent on product type.  (Updated Oct 2004)

Furniture Reuse Across Civic Amenity Sites (FRACAS) 
Restore Community Projects below

Green Choices
Website www.greenchoices.org/fridges.html  Email info@greenchoices.org 
PO Box 31617, London SW2 4FF

Free, independent, not-for-profit web guide to greener living.  Like THE WASTEBOOK, it has no products to sell or promote, only ideas and information to help people make greener choices in their day-to-day lives.  The section of the website given above has advice on fridges, but there is much more on other web pages.  (Updated May 2005)


Tel 01443 842255 Fax 01443 841805
Gellihiron Industrial Estate, PONTYPRIDD, Mid Glam CF37 5SX

Supplier of forane CFC substitutes manufactured by ELF Atochem to the refrigeration industry. Also operate the UK's largest refrigerant gas reclamation plant.

ICER (Industry Council for Electronic Equipment Recovery)
Tel 0207 729 4766  Fax 0207 729 9121
Website www.icer.org.uk 
6 Bath Place, Rivington Street, LONDON EC2A 3JE

Association involving suppliers, manufacturers, waste management, recyclers and local authorities aiming to be environmentally responsible. Information exchange and advice.  Expertise on recycling WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment).  Website lists commercial WEEE recyclers or refurbishers of fridges, washing machines etc.  Pilot projects and research on life cycle through design, collection, reprocessing, and markets for reclaimed materials.  Current projects, working with all parties, include: to assess the amount of equipment entering the UK waste stream, how it is made up, how much is being recycled, and barriers to recycling; to identify best ways to separate and collect equipment for recycling and reuse; and to research recycling of cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and markets for CRT glass.  Runs accreditation schemes for recyclers and refurbishers.  (Updated May 2004)


Tel 0800 262221 / 0800 262221 Fax 01928 513890
PO Box 14, The Heath, RUNCORN, Cheshire WA7 4QG  

Supplies refrigerant gases for all applications.  Purchases reclaimed CFC gases.  

Kings Cross Furniture Project 
see Restore Community Projects

Mobile Repair Service

Tel 0207 226 8431 (staffed 10.30-12.30, or answerphone)  Fax 0207 704 0391  
Email services@mobilerepairservice.org.uk  Website www.mobilerepairservice.org.uk  
2 St Paul's Road, LONDON N1 2QN  

Registered charity.  A repair agency working exclusively for pensioners and people with disabilities.  Repairs, tests and guarantees equipment for domestic use including cookers, washing machines, fridges, vacuum cleaners.  All equipment checked for safety and function before being passed on.  Takes good equipment in working order - no small electrical items.  Does not sell items on.  Electrical, plumbing and small carpentry work also undertaken.  Operates a system of prioritising according to need, but without means testing.  No proof of welfare benefits required.  Works in association with Social Services.  Space and other priorities sometimes means equipment cannot always be accepted.  (Updated May 2004)

Ozone Friends 
Tel 0207 476 3900  Fax 0207 476 1700
Email ozonefriends@aol.com  Website www.ozonefriends.co.uk
29-31 Lambert Rd, Custom House, Canning Town, LONDON E16 3NN

Collects fridges, freezers, washing machines and cookers from local authorities, companies or individuals.  Part of Quaker Social Action umbrella group including New Life Training and Homestore.  Also at Buzzard Creek Trading Estate, Units 6,7,8  River Rd, BARKING, Essex IG11, Tel 0208 591 6333.  CFCs are extracted from fridges and freezers - if they can't be refurbished, these go to Earmark European Metal Recycling, Willesden - where gases are extracted and units are shredded.  Some fridges contain pentane, which are CFC-free.  Refurbished units sold via Homestore and Shaftesbury Resource Centre, Camberwell, 0207 737 7475.  Poor families are referred and may buy these cheaply.
   (Updated May 2004)

Polar Pumps Ltd

Tel 01302 751253 Fax 01302 751254
Brunel Industrial Estate, Blyth Road, HARWORTH, Doncaster DN11 8QA

Supply CFC extraction equipment and training for scrap dealing or waste management.

Reclaim UK Ltd

Tel 01992 700924 Fax 01992 700938
Joinery Mill, Britannia Road, WALTHAM CROSS, Herts EN8 7NX

Collection, purchase and recycling of discarded refrigeration equipment. About 10% have minor faults only, and are refurbished for export to Africa. Otherwise, CFC refrigerant gases are recovered for reuse. Aluminium and other materials also reclaimed. Contracts can be offered to customers such as waste collection authorities and stores accepting 'trade-ins'. Current payment £25 per tonne, with charges of £1.50 per unit degassed. Minimum economic collection quantity is about 20.

Refrigerant Users Group

Tel 01483 414125 Fax 01483 414109
46 Bridge Street, GODALMING, Surrey GU7 1HL

Information on reclaimed CFC refrigerant gas supplies. Guidance on disposal, legislation, alternatives and reclamation contractors.

Restore Community Projects
(formerly Kings Cross Furniture Project)

Tel 0208 493 0900   Fax 0208 493 0109
Unit 18, Ashley Road, TOTTENHAM, London N17 9LJ
Email info@restorecommunityprojects.org
Website www.restorecommunityprojects.org (from later in 2004)

Contact  Austin Willett, general manager  

Residents with good, re-usable furniture can call Restore to have it collected. Open 9-4 Mon-Thu, 9-1 Fri.  Collects from central and North London, within M25.  Otherwise, for  free collection service of up to 5 bulky items from households, call Hackney Council waste helpline 0208 356 6688 (office hours).  Collections Mon-Thu, but if people can take the goods to a recycling centre it saves time for collectors.

Furniture Reuse Across Civic Amenity Sites (FRACAS) is a fridge, cooker and furniture recycling pilot project from Restore Community Projects. Funded by £230,000 from National Lottery Community Recycling and Economic Development (CRED) Programme, it diverted 306 fridges from landfill in 2003.  Fridges are collected from public recycling centres in 7 North London boroughs, refurbished, tested and sold from £50-£80 with 6-month guarantee through social services and community organisations. 
(Updated May 2004) 

TOC International
Tel 01582 391005 Fax 01582 391007 Warehouse 01462 768822
8 Copthorne, LUTON, Beds LU2 8RJ
E-mail dennishealey@toc-international.co.uk Web www.toc-international.co.uk

Collection of used refrigerators and extraction of CFCs. Service provided for local authority recycling centres.

Warden Domestics Ltd
Tel 01582 582601  Fax 01582 723212
Unit 8, York Street, High Town, LUTON LU2 0HA

Repairs of domestic appliances including all known makes of washing machines, tumble driers, dishwashers, fridges, freezers, fridge-freezers.  Also refurbishes appliances and sells them more cheaply than new models - fridges from £40, fridge freezers from £65, washing machines from £80.   Full range of spares (genuine or alternative) for DIY - staff happy to help with fitting advice.  22 years experience.  No call out charge.  Callouts and full report on exactly what's wrong and how much repair will cost.  Also rents out nearly new washing machines, washer driers and tumble driers with guarantee to repair or replace within 3 working days.  Student discounts.  (Updated Apr 2005)

Wessex Cooling Ltd

Tel 01425 655818 Fax 01425 655843
Unit 17, Sandleheath Ind. Estate, FORDINGBRIDGE, Hants SP6 1PA

Commercial, domestic and industrial refigeration systems collected and refrigerant removed for reuse.