Fridge thefts risky

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Stolen fridges are giv­ing Trash Palace staff the chills.

Fridges put out on road­sides for re­cy­clers Trash Palace to col­lect are be­ing stolen for scrap metal, and harm­ful CFC gases are re­leased into the at­mos­phere in the process, gen­eral man­ager El­iz­a­beth Coluzzi says.

Fridge mo­tors are worth about $8 each. Un­less spe­cial­ist equip­ment is used when cut­ting mo­tors from fridges, the gas is re­leased, she says.

‘‘All the CFCs go straight into the at­mos­phere. Our con­cern is for the en­vi­ron­ment.’’

CFCs de­stroy the ozone layer of the up­per at­mos­phere. Trash Palace uses a de-gassing ma­chine to cap­ture the gas and then dis­poses of it safely.

The thefts tend to hap­pen along main roads like War­spite Ave, Mun­gavin Ave and Ti­tahi Bay Rd, Ms Coluzzi says.

Once the mo­tor is re­moved, the thieves will sell the rest of the fridge to scrap deal­ers as ‘‘ shred­der feed’’ which fetches about 22 cents a kilo.

Trash Palace gets much more money from fridges be­cause they take the ma­chines apart and sal­vage any valu­able met­als inside, she says. The same goes for ovens, dish­wash­ers and other white­ware which get stolen when put out for Trash Palace’s in­or­ganic col­lec­tions.

‘‘We rely on the in­or­ganic to make the lit­tle bit of bread and but­ter to­wards what we’re do­ing.’’

Thefts have in­creased in the past 12 months as peo­ple strug­gle to make ends meet, Ms Coluzzi says.

The thieves are typ­i­cally op­por- tunists driv­ing by a fridge or oven and de­cid­ing on a whim to steal it, Porirua City Coun­cil zero waste co- or­di­na­tor Tushara Kodikara says. ‘‘ It hap­pens all over the re­gion. It’s been an is­sue for a few years now.’’

Any­one who sees white­ware be­ing stolen should note or pho­to­graph the thief’s num­ber plate and pass the in­for­ma­tion to the coun­cil.

Left cold: Stolen fridges are harm­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and leav­ing re­cy­clers Trash Palace out of pocket, say its gen­eral man­ager El­iz­a­beth Coluzzi and Porirua City Coun­cil zero waste co-or­di­na­tor Tushara Kodikara.

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