Fridge Logisticsa note by M B Recycling
Ltd 10 September 2001
As we review the situation with regard to Ozone
Depleting Substances we have to recognise that the sands of time
are running out. We are advised by both DEFRA and the DTI that
the European Legislation relating to ODS emanating from refrigerators
will become effective from 1 January 2002. That means that we
have currently got 3½ months left to put in place a means
of meeting that legislation.
1. The correspondence that has been circulating
in email form indicates a desire to maintain the current collection
system. Nearly all the local authorities rely upon this system
for the disposal of their refrigerators. It would be very difficult
to replace such a collection process in the time available. We
must also recognise that the time left does not allow the procurement
of the relevant machinery for effecting the disposal; and were
clear decisions to be taken today, it would be of the order of
nine months before the first of those shredding machines that
meet the criteria that are likely to be required will be available.
In the meantime, large numbers of redundant refrigerators will
be accumulating in the hands of either the local authorities or
the collectors of these machines.
2. Here, however, we run into another difficulty.
Many of them are reported to be considering their positions and
certainly they would not want to be left with returning them to
the civic amenity sites.
3. The government have indicated through
the discussions that we have had at the DEFRA meeting at the DTI
Conference Centre a fortnight ago, that the government will not
defer the implementation of this scheme nor will they risk infraction
proceedings from the European Union. Therefore we must prepare
for rack and stack of these refrigerators until such time as the
machines can be put in place to process them and at the same time
we must give assurances to the retailers, who have asked quite
clearly for confirmation as to the way forward, that it would
be preferred to keep the current collection process, which involves
the retail sector as well as the civic amenity sites, to proceed
in a constant and forecastable way. If this does not happen, within
the next two or three weeks we may see the announcement of the
cessation of many of the current collecting processes and to put
fresh contracts and processes in place such as to meet the onrush
of refrigerators which will have no home to go to, becomes a very
It has been stated by many of the interested
parties present at meetings that they have no intention of making
any investment until all matters are clarified. Time is passing
and it would appear that the decisions which are sought are in
essence already before us, only requiring final confirmation.
1. Will the government confirm their attitude
to the EU Legislation in writing?
2. Will they identify sites which can be
used for rack and stack or for open air storage that satisfies
the geographic locations and their requirements?
3. Can those who wish to install machines
look for co-operation in identifying the standards which are to
be achieved? It has been widely suggested that these should be
of the highest level and I would certainly urge that this be ratified.
98 per cent extraction has been mentioned by Peter Jones and this
seems to me to be a standard which could be achieved by several
different makes of machine, whilst at the same time avoiding us
installing sub standard machinery which will fail to meet the
upcoming requirements which will be added to with the installation
of the WEEE Directive. It would be fallacious for us to invest
in capital equipment that will be obsolete within three years.
The Prime Minister has indicated his desire that we should be
leaders in Europe, and that can only be achieved if we install
the best availablel equipment.
In summary, therefore, we have to move now and
it requires decisions. A further meeting which is forecast for
28 September will of itself be helpful but unless it arrives at
some concrete decisions which can be implemented in short order,
the drift which currently prevails will continue.
For example, a recent survey of 30 or more local
and county councils indicated that with the exception of four,
virtually no provision was being made or examined in any sector,
and telephone calls by the writer to certain large city councils
indicate that many of them are settled in the belief that because
they have contracts for the disposal of their refrigerators in
the current format that they will be able to let that responsibility
devolve onto the collector. I very much suspect that most of those
contracts will have force majeure clauses in them and that a certain
amount of very radical eye opening will take place once clarification
is made to the local authoritiesand here I must urge that
clarification takes place forthwith. There is a bland assumption
on the part of the local authorities that nothing is going to
change and I believe that that is extremely dangerous from the
point of view of forward planning.
In writing this note, therefore, may I applaud
the discussion which has been going on via email but at the same
time urge that decisions now need to be made with a degree of
priority which is currently not in evidence.