Sixty accused over illegal disposal of fridges

Sixty people have been accused of involvement in the illegal disposal of over half a million refrigerators while collecting the fees for ‘environmental’ disposal, an action which netted them around €10 million profit over a four year period.

Charges include crimes against natural resources and the environment, fraud and misappropriation of funds.

An investigation, codenamed ‘Fragmento’, began seven months ago and was concentrated in the Madrid and Zaragoza areas, the sites of the largest concentrations of household electrical appliances.

Instead of the fridges being disposed of in accordance with environmental regulations, the appliances were destroyed by rudimentary, non-approved methods which, it is estimated, resulted in the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere equivalent to over 500 million kilos of carbon dioxide. These gases have an adverse affect on the ozone layer.

The fridges were not taken to approved facilities, where the gases are safely removed, but to regular junkyards and other sites. The materials were then subsequently sold to smelters for recycling.

At the same time, they collected the fees for environmental disposal.

A large number of old fridges have now been seized and are being stored at a temporary facility pending their legitimate, and safe disposal.

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