Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minutes of Evidence



  Based on capital and operating cost profiles for existing German/Swedish technology the processing cost per fridge—dependent on economies of scale is going to be in the range of £25-£30 per unit for upper quartile (low volume) individual customers. This suggests an annualised cost in the region of £70 million for the estimated three million fridges to be disposed of annually (equivalent to 10 per cent of current retail sales value quoted at £717 million by non food, retail agencies). Lower quartile cost expectations in a mature market might operate at £50 million to £60 million per annum by 2005+.


  1.  Full Producer Responsibility on a brand by brand basis—Scrap fridges are retrieved from the market place FOC and OEMs then negotiate a bulk fee with reprocessors and are charged on a brand by brand basis. "Orphan" and unidentified brands charged pro rata or costs funded by public purse.

  2.  Funding under Producer Responsibility but with all manufacturers negotiating nationally based rates with collectors/reprocessors. Average costs—including publicity and public education—subject to audit by OFT coupled to central government support for an across the board green levy on all new fridges to cover cost of reprocessing historic stock.

  3.  Tradeable Permits—Collate data based on last 10 year statistics by brand and then institute Tradeable Permits on importers/manufacturers. Reprocessors able to trade permits based on reprocessed throughput. TPs could operate in conjunction with 1. and 2. above.

  4.  Operating TPs on HCFC content only (as per my letter to the Minister).

  5.  Allow retailers to recover an incremental fee on a voluntary basis on all new fridges sold and they negotiate national reprocessing deals with reprocessors to match surcharge. Relieve retailers of onerous storage conditions relating to hazardous waste.

  6.  Allow Waste Disposal Authorities and/or Waste Collection Authorities to negotiate bilateral contracts with reprocessors to handle fridges returned to CA sites. Such an approach would be time intensive and potentially penalise local authorities distant from installed reprocessing capacity. Retailers, manufacturers and importers have no financial liability—cost borne entirely public sector. CA sites could apply a charge on the public for returned fridges but this would more probably result in dumping of fridges illicitly at the gate after hours or in isolated locations in the community.

  7.  DEFRA/Environment Agency or other central body negotiates a national rate with reprocessors. Costs are borne centrally by the public purse as a centrally managed charge with collection FOC from local authority collection points. This would probably involve regionalised contracts in the interests of scale and logistics efficiency.

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