Fridge recycling plant opens in Walsall

DEFRA cuts the ribbon at the new facility.

Sustainable materials expert EMR has opened a fridge recycling plant at EMR Darlaston, Walsall.

The firm – “the UK’s largest fridge recycler” – says it has built the facility using the latest technology and innovative processes, including robotic separation systems.

Chris Preston, Deputy Director for Resource and Waste Directorate at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) officially opened the new site and was given a guided tour of the facility, which will recycle fridges from producer compliance schemes.

The multi-million-pound recycling facility, located on the outskirts of Walsall, replaces a nearby EMR Darlaston fridge recycling facility and will double the site’s capacity to recycle thousands of fridges each day.

The investment also safeguards jobs in the green economy for Walsall, which – alongside EMR’s Willesden fridge recycling facility in North London – will provide fridge recycling services throughout the UK.

EMR says its 70 years of recycling expertise “ensures even more materials, including steel, copper and plastics, from end-of-life fridges re-enter the circular economy for use in tomorrow’s products, saving unnecessary carbon from being released and protecting the Earth’s precious resources.”

As the number of fridges that use banned CFCs as a coolant continues to decline, the new facility will only recycle fridges containing pentane. Advanced robotic separation processes will identify the fridges containing CFCs, which will then be safely and responsibly recycled at EMR’s fridge recycling facility in Willesden.

Chris Sheppard, Chief Executive at EMR, described the new plant as “a critical piece of infrastructure that will provide much-needed recycling capabilities for producer compliance schemes, local authorities and manufacturers in the UK, whilst ensuring more precious materials enter back into the circular economy.”

Chris Preston, Deputy Director for the Resources and Waste Directorate at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), said: “It was a pleasure to be invited to open EMR’s state-of-the-art facility and to see this investment in the UK’s recycling infrastructure. Recycling facilities like this have an essential part to play as the government moves ahead with its proposals for reforming the waste electricals regulations.”