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Germany slammed for waste fridge exports

WASTE refrigeration equipment containing CFCs is being illegally exported to non-EU countries and shredded like cars in Germany, prompting calls for the country to sort out its mess.
According to a report by the German business publication Capital, CFC-containing refrigeration appliances were discovered in two car shredder plants in Germany. The article also found evidence of the illegal export of waste fridges and freezers containing CFCs.

'It is hard to conceive just how badly climate protection targets are being damaged', said Christoph Becker secretary of the RAL Quality Assurance Association.

The association secretary went on to say the illegal activity demanded immediate investigation into the disposal of end-of-life refrigeration appliances.

The RAL QAA believes the best way of combating these illegal practices is through more frequent and thorough monitoring of waste disposal channels.

On the subject of illegal exports, Becker said 'Clearly the number of border controls needs to be increased, with most of these inspections carried out on the external borders of the European Union. The fact that most illegal exports appear to be channelled through the major European ports should help to optimize the efficiency of these border controls'.

The export of CFC-containing appliances is being looked at within the review and update procedures for European Regulation 2037/2000 on ozone-depleting substances.

The association also called for the the closure of those channels through which end-of-life refrigeration appliances are 'lost' on their way from domestic households to the recycling plant. Becker said 'Much would be achieved by drying up the sources that feed the illegal shredding and export streams'.

RAL also reinforced the importance of ensuring the greatest possible number of waste refrigerator and freezer appliances are sent to fridge recycling plants. However, fridge recycling in Germany is already suffering because waste appliances that do find their way to fridge recycling plants are not always treated using the best available technology.

Becker added 'Given the massive implications that CFC emissions have for Germany's climate change targets, the time has certainly come for the German government and its agencies to take serious remedial action'.

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