Shropshire Star

Minister opens the biggest recycling centre of its kind in Europe

Environment minister Therese Coffey was in Shropshire to open the biggest recycling centre of its kind in Europe.

Environment minister Therese Coffey, Telford MP Lucy Allan, AO chief executive Steve Caunce and marketing director Anthony Sant

Miss Coffey was joined by Telford MP Lucy Allan for the official opening of the new AO fridge recycling plant at the town's Halesfield business park.

More than 200 jobs have been created at the plant, which is hoped will recycle more than 700,000 fridges every year.

It is said to be the largest fridge and white goods recycling plant.

Environment minister Therese Coffey with Anthony Sant of AO

AO's Robert Sant said in its first year the plant will process one fifth of all fridges thrown away in the UK, as well as washing machines, dishwashers, tumble driers and other appliances.

Mr Sant, managing director of the company's recycling division, said: “Every year we throw away more than three million fridges in the UK, as well as millions of other household electrical items.

"Our facility in Telford will play a central role in making sure we dispose of these items properly."

He said while there had been a lot of talk recently about plastic waste, disused electrical appliances should also be made a priority.

"Here at Telford our approach is all about making sure they are dismantled safely, cleanly and in a way which doesn’t harm the environment – and getting as much value from this waste as possible."

He said the centre not only provided a major boost to the economy, creating highly skilled jobs, but also raised Telford's profile as a centre of excellence for recycling.

Telford MP Lucy Allan, AO marketing director Anthony Sant, and environment minister Therese Coffey

Miss Coffey said: “This is a significant step by a British business to increase our capacity to recycle fridges and other electrical household appliances, in what is the biggest facility of its kind in Europe here in Telford.

“We all have a responsibility to our environment and it is only through businesses, consumers, and government working together that we will recycle more and protect our environment for the next generation.”

Cardboard packaging is also recycled at the plant, and some appliances are repaired and refurbished for secondhand resale.

Ms Allan said the opening of the centre rounded of a good month for business in Telford.

"I know that the business will integrate well into our community, as well as providing employment opportunities for people in Telford."