Refrigeration and the Environment

Efficiency, Disposal, Recycling and More...

Energy use

The average fridge in your home uses electricity to power its motor (the compressor). You will see Energy Labels on fridges that tell you how efficient they are. Fridges are given a rating - a higher efficiency such as A+++  means lower electricity bills and less environmental impact.

This allows you to compare appliances, even if they are different sizes, with different proportions of cool or frozen spaces to find the most energy efficient one.



Disposal of old fridges

Refrigerators have to be recycled by specialist waste treatment facilities to remove chemicals from the circuit and insulation.  Steel, other metals, plastic and foam are all recycled for re-use. Approximately 2.4 million fridges are disposed of in this way each year. See the video above to find out how fridges are recycled.

Food supply

In a growing population it’s harder to make sure there is enough food to go round. Refrigeration can help prevent wastage at all stages by making sure fresh produce lasts longer and arrives in good condition.

For more information on environmental impact of refrigerators and the chemicals they contain see the Advanced Topics section above  (coming soon!).

How does a fridge work?

Does it need refrigeration?

Young Learners Overview