Since the release of the Environment Agency guidance stating that pentane fridges must be treated as hazardous waste, a number of warnings have been given by councils and recyclers on the rises of fridge fly-tipping and the shortage of available fridge recycling plants. Recent fly-tipping has especially been seen by councils in the West Midlands and Derbyshire area.
The ruling, published in February, relates to the pentane blowing agent used in the insulation foam as an alternative to CFCs. The Environment Agency (EA) has stated that in order to prevent the risk of fire at fridge storage and treatment sites, pentane fridges can only be treated at sites permitted to process hazardous waste. As a result, metal recyclers are no longer able to shred pentane fridges, instead having to send them to dedicated fridge reprocessing facilities to be degassed. As such, many are claiming that there is insufficient capacity currently in operation to deal with the tonnage of fridges being produced and, consequently, there has been an increase in the gate fees being charged by fridge recyclers.
According to the EA, “since we issued our guidance there has been a significant increase in the number of fridges being processed through dedicated fridge processing plants, which we see as a positive move. Our recent enquiries indicate that there are fridge processing plants with sufficient capacity so there is no firm evidence that a lack of capacity is causing fridges to be fly-tipped” – there has been no comment from the EA on gate fee charges as this is deemed to be outside of their regulatory responsibilities.
The full article regarding this issue can be found on the Lets Recycle page by clicking here