The Environment Agency has granted specialist fridge recycler Davis Commercial Services Ltd (DCS) a permit variation for its Northamptonshire facility, after initial concerns about air emissions.
The company’s fridge recycling facility at Earls Barton, between Northampton and Wellingborough, can process up to 10,000 tonnes of commercial refrigeration units per year.
Matt Davis, director of DCS, told letsrecycle.com the variation was needed for the facility to comply with changes to standard rules permits.
He said the variation was required for the facility to continue operating as it does, though the company has also “beefed up” operations with the installation of a new abatement system to deal with air emissions.
This abatement system, he said, was a requirement of the Environment Agency granting the variation. It is in the very early stages of being installed, he told letsrecycle.com, and so is not yet live.
Mr Davis added that once monitoring by the company’s technology provider was completed it will have met Best Available Techniques regulations well before the 2022 deadline it was set. The monitoring was a requirement of the Environment Agency granting the variation and is already underway, he said.
DCS applied in July 2019 to vary its permit to bring it in line with EU Best Available Techniques regulations. These were updated in 2018. Relevant authorities in member states had four years to implement any changes.
The Environment Agency then reviewed and consulted on changes to several Standard Rules Environmental Permits in 2019.
This meant facilities which process more than 10 tonnes a day of hazardous materials would need to re-apply for a permit. DCS has held a SR2015 No 3 permit for the plant since November 2016.
The company only accepts end-of-life commercial refrigeration units. At East Barton fridges are processed to remove the refrigerant gases and oils from the compressor, then dismantled and separated into recoverable parts as far as possible.
The waste refrigeration units are not fully destroyed but dismantled into separate materials and compacted prior to being sent offsite for recovery or disposal.
Commercial units received at the site can be divided into two distinct types, ‘remote’ and ‘integral’, the company explained.
Integral units are similar to domestic fridges in that they contain compressors with oils and refrigerants and are designed to cool independently within the cabinet shell. Remote units do not contain compressors with oils and refrigerants, as this element of the cooling system is held elsewhere within the retail units, providing refrigeration for several cabinets. These units do not contain refrigerant gas when delivered.
Fridge units containing ammonia are not treated on site but transferred to an authorised treatment facility for appropriate processing.
DCS gathered a limited amount of monitoring data relating to air emissions for its permit variation application, the Environment Agency said in its decision document.
Though this showed air emissions from the site were insignificant, the Agency said in the decision document it was not satisfied sufficient quality data was gathered or available.
Therefore, it says it decided to require the company to undertake commissioning of the abatement system, monitor the volatile organic carbon compounds during the commissioning and treatment processes and review the risk assessments.
Depending on the results of the commissioning and the review, the Environment Agency has required the operator to provide additional appropriate measures for the treatment of the air emissions, if necessary.
Northamptonshire-based DCS says it has more than 30 years’ experience within commercial refrigeration.
The company says it provides full circle commercial refrigeration solutions, from storage at its East Barton site to nationwide distribution.
Recycling is only one dimension of the company’s business, Mr Davis told letsrecycle.com. He said DCS offered a full supply chain solution for commercial refrigeration.