Fridge thefts risky
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.