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Free refrigerator disposal service extended in Buller

26 Feb 2024

Buller District Council, Electro Services Ltd and Smart Environmental Ltd have extended the existing agreement to offer a free refrigerator disposal service to Buller residents for an additional year. The service will remain available until February 2025.

The agreement, initially signed in February 2021, enables residents to safely dispose of refrigerators and freezers at the Westport and Reefton Transfer Stations without charge.

Refrigerators contain coolant gases that pose a risk to the environment, humans and animals. Refrigerators collected for recycling need to have this gas removed before they can be processed.

Before the agreement, Buller residents had to pay $92 for labour plus a $9 degassing fee at the Westport and Reefton Transfer Stations for this service.

Under the agreement, Electro Services Ltd will continue providing the labour required to safely degas fridges and will complete the procedure when sufficient units have been collected for processing.

Smart Environmental Ltd will continue covering the disposal fee, and council will cover a half of the degassing labour costs using Waste Minimisation funding.

To continue safely disposing of their fridges, free of charge, Buller residents can drop off their old fridge (or freezer) at the Westport and Reefton Transfer Stations during opening hours. 

Coordinator waste management, Juliana Ruiz acknowledges the generous support provided by Electro Services Ltd and Smart Environmental Ltd and says: “This programme has been a great initiative, encouraging people in the Buller region to responsibly dispose of their old fridges and freezers. Nobody wants to see old fridges rusting away next to our rivers or forested areas.”

Over 300 fridges have been properly degassed during the three years that the agreement has been in place.

Once the refrigerants are removed, the fridge units can be recycled as scrap metal, with the refrigerant substances safely contained and sent overseas for reprocessing.

Council's long-term vision is to have the community understand their waste consumption and commit to correct disposal methods.

Through education, council aims to move the district towards a circular economy. This involves operating sustainably and meeting national and global climate and waste management standards.

Ms Ruiz highlights: “Initiatives like fridge degassing, and residents’ participation in them, is key to making step-by-step improvements in Buller’s waste and recycling systems.”


For further information contact:
Manager Infrastructure Delivery
Eric de Boer