reducing waste

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.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of U.N. estimates that about 1.3 billion tons of food are globally wasted or lost per year (Gustavasson, et al. 2011). In sub-Saharan Africa it is estimated that 30% of food produced is lost post harvest.  Improving access to refrigeration and a better management of the temperature of product throughout its movement from field to warehouse to supermarket (the food chain), could help reduce this waste.  

What can you do about it? The WRAP campaign says that UK households throw away millions of tonnes of food waste every year. There were an estimated 7.3 million tonnes of household food waste in the UK in 2015.  This is good quality food that people just don't get round to eating!  What could you do to reduce food waste in your home? There is a campaign called Love Food Hate Waste that has plenty of ideas for inspiration 

 Photo by Elevate on Unsplash


Recycling of equipment


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.  This video explains what needs to be done to recycle all the parts of the fridge so that they can be reused in new products.



Energy use for cooling


The 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.




Energy use for heating


Refrigeration is also used in Heat Pumps to improve the efficiency of home heating. Heat pumps can cool a home in summer and the same unit can heat the home in winter. They are a highly efficient way of heating and are often used in new housing developments.



We will be developing more content about heat pumps and heating and cooling networks in the "Advanced Topics" sections in the future.


Cooling Science Homepage

Careers in refrigeration