Online electricals retailer AO is celebrating recycling over two million fridges at its recycling plant in Telford.
Lined up, that’s 2,000+ miles, equalling the distance from Edinburgh to the North Pole.
During the lockdown period of April 2020 to April 2021, AO received over 328,000 unwanted fridges at its recycling plant from customers, which is up by 68% compared to the previous year.
AO says fridges are ‘notoriously tricky’ to dispose of safely, as they contain more harmful gases than the average appliance. AO’s 80-tonne machine (named Bertha) can tackle 100 fridges every hour.
With Bertha’s help, AO can process over 700,000 fridges annually, which is 20 per cent of all white goods scrapped every year.
The machine is the height of a three-story house. It works by spinning heavy metal chains inside an airtight container at around 500 revolutions per minute, creating a vortex that breaks the fridge into tiny pieces – think of it like a supersized kitchen blender.
We’re so pleased that not only have we saved a huge two million fridges from being fly-tipped, but we’ve disposed of them in the safest way possible
The machine also takes care of the harmful gases and oils stored in fridges that can damage the environment if released into the atmosphere. Dangerous gases are trapped between tiny pockets of insulation foam, but these are safely removed inside the sealed chamber.
AO says it is the only fridge recycling plant in the world to collect 100% of harmful gasses released from a fridge.
Once done, materials are then reused in other household items, such as sustainable ventilation products.
Robert Sant, MD of AO Recycling, said: “We’re so pleased that not only have we saved a huge two million fridges from being fly-tipped, but we’ve disposed of them in the safest way possible. At AO, we always want to do more.
“As a retailer, we want to take responsibility for the entire recycling process and hopefully it won’t be long before the plastics we produce can be used to create brand new fridges.”