The online electricals store, AO.com is offering to collect and recycle “mobile fridges” for local authorities as part of a bid to cut stockpiles across the UK .
The move comes after the retailer announced the installation of a machine at its Telford site to process the absorption fridges, often referred to as ammonia fridges and commonly found in caravans, boats and hotel rooms.
To date, due to a lack of the facilties to process the fridges correctly, many have been stockpiled around the UK or exported to the Continent for processing.
The retailer is now offering to collect and recycle the absorption fridges at a discounted rate from local authority recycling sites using its UK-wide logistics service.
The AO Telford plant can degass and recycle an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 absorption fridges every year. The plant ensures that absorption fridges are recycled in the safest and most environmentally friendly way by removing the ammonia, a process known as degassing. They are then recycled alongside domestic fridges collected from AO customers in a state-of-the-art machine.
AO Recycling Director Anthony Sant, said
“From the published returns for recycled frdges it is clear that very few ammonia fridges are actually being processed in the UK. This means they are either being shipped abroad for processing at plants capable of dealing with them safely and correctly or being stockpiled on the basis that the correct processing will one day be available.
“We recently attended the LARAC Conference and the overwhelming feedback from authorities was that they welcomed the ability to recycle their ammonia fridges in the UK. We decided to offer a collection and recycling service to local authorities for dealing with the thousands of ammonia fridges we know need recycling in the UK.
“AO has the benefit of its UK-wide logistics service and we are using this this to collect from recycling sites. The environmental benefit is two fold; we cut the transport carbonprint by collecting in bulk as part of a wider logistics process, and we are recycling to the highest standard in the UK”
The retailer’s latest investment comes after it announced plans to build a second fridge recycling facility in the South East to deal with the growing numbers of fridges collected from customers. AO.com is the first retailer in the UK to have its own fridge recycling plant.
The retailer launched its first recycling facility last year with the opening of the state-of-the art fridge recycling plant in Telford. The plant has already made a significant impact on UK recycling capacity with 700,000 fridges expected to be recycled in its first full processing year – or about one fifth of the 3.5 million appliances thrown away annually.
AO has agreed to open a second fridge and LDA recycling site in a multi-million pound investment in the South East, which it plans to open in 2019. Once built, AO will have capacity to process around 40% of the fridges collected in the UK. An announcement on the exact location of the plant is expected to be made later this year with construction due to start early next year.