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Recycling: what happens to your old fridge?

Discover what happens to your old fridge

Reuse of fridges

Fridges collected at the Re-use and Recycling Centres are inspected to see which ones we can repair and re-use. The ones that can not be re-used or repaired are taken away for processing and recycling.

Recycling of fridges

At the recycling plant, the fridges are put on to a slow conveyor belt. A closed-system pump is used to remove oil and gases containing Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs), such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), from each fridge's compressor. The compressors are then removed from the fridges and sold for re-use.

They then shred the fridges under vacuum to remove ODSs in the insulating foam. Small pieces of refrigerator components emerge from the shredder. These are mainly metal, insulating foam and small amounts of plastic and glass.

An air separator is used to separate the insulating foam from the metal and plastic. It is then crushed to a fine powder under vacuum to draw off remaining amounts of ODSs. The ODSs are treated and recycled. The foam powder is either disposed or used for different purposes. In some European countries for example, the foam powder is used as an absorbent for oil spills.

The ferrous metal is magnetic and is removed from the shredded material using a magnet. After the ferrous metal has been removed the shredded material is passed into an eddy current separator. This induces a current into the non-ferrous metal to make it magnetic. The non-ferrous metal than is removed using a magnet. The ferrous and non-ferrous metal is sold to scrap merchants.

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Telephone: 020 8274 4902

Waste Services
63-69 Amenity Way

This page was last updated on Monday 16 December 2013