Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) claims that nearly 3,000,000 refrigerators are improperly disposed of in Germany every year, with more than half of them still containing harmful refrigerants.
According to the DUH, the German cooling system recycling laws are among the worst in Europe. This, it says, is due to outdated and ineffective German waste disposal regulations that allow the recycling companies scope for illegal practices. It has called on federal environment minister Barbara Hendricks to end what is calls “intolerable conditions” and adopt the much more advanced European disposal standard EN50574.
The DUH claims that only 63% of refrigerants in refrigerators are destroyed during disposal. It contrasts this with recycling plants in France, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria where 90% or more of greenhouse gases are recovered from old refrigerators.
The DUH insists that recyclers should be forced to prove how much refrigerant is recovered from the refrigerators number of refrigerators they handle. “Only then can the authorities judge whether a disposer is cheating or not,” the DUH says.
This is not the first time the DUH has highlighted the problem. As long ago as 2007, the German environmental group was calling the German waste policy “totally inadequate”. In 2014 the DUH called for stricter controls and new legal standard after describing refrigerator recycling in the country as “flawed” with many German states having no facilities for disposal of refrigeration equipment.