In the modern age we are living in, it is very hard to imagine life without the kitchen appliances we have become so dependent on. Our toasters, microwaves, washing machines and refrigerators have become an essential part of our everyday lives – often to great detriment to the environment. In a wide-ranging EU product survey, it has been established that dishwashers and fridge/freezers use nearly twice as much energy as advertised on their energy labels. Despite their obvious importance, refrigeration units are estimated to use nearly 8% of all energy while being responsible for 2.55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. While ecodesign innovations are projected to reduce the EU’s emissions by at least 9% by 2020 and 15% by 2030 it will all depend on how streamlined these items become in reality and to what extent consumers are willing to change their buying habits.
Fridges aren’t the only culprits
While refrigerators are often touted as being the appliance with the greatest negative effect on the environment due to their CFC content, a new evil has reared its head: the microwave. According to research conducted at the University of Manchester, microwaves across Europe emit 7.7 million tons of carbon dioxide a year – equivalent to 6.8 million cars. The same microwaves also consume nearly 9.4 terrawatt hours (TWh) of electricity annually, the same as the yearly electricity generated by 3 large gas power plants.
Every year more microwave ovens are sold than any other type of oven in Europe with yearly sales expected to reach 135 million by the end of this decade. It is for this very reason that all efforts to reduce consumption should be focused on educating consumers on how to use appliances more efficiently and make better purchasing decisions.
Opt for sustainable appliances
Thanks to an upsurge in eco-friendly innovations, European consumers are abler than ever before to invest in sustainable appliances for their homes. There are a number of responsible manufacturers that are designing appliances with the safety of the environment in mind. Häfele is one such a European manufacturer that produces appliances under very strict European quality control standards. All Häfele’s appliances which range from ovens and refrigerators to wine coolers and BBQs all meet the set out requirements of energy efficiency, safety, and eco-friendly standards. Additionally, Liebherr, Bosch, and Siemens are all making headway in terms of eco-friendly refrigeration units while John Lewis and Smeg are doing the same in terms of sustainable cookers.
Dispose of your appliances responsibly
How you dispose of your old and broken kitchen appliances are as important, if not more so, as how you use them. The proper disposal of appliances would not only prevent harmful emissions such as ODS and GHGs from fridges but also save landfill space as well as energy by recycling appliances or their components instead of landfilling them. In order to truly make a positive impact on the environment each and every household has to make a concerted effort to not only switch to eco-friendly kitchen appliances but to use them in a responsible manner as well.
By working together towards a greater good the environment has the best possible chance of recovering from past injustices and providing a safe habitat for all. According to an EU law that came into force in 2007, all retailers have to help customers recycle their home appliances either by paying towards suitable recycling facilities at a council site or by offering them a free, instore takeback service.
In order to truly make a positive impact on the environment each and every household has to make a concerted effort to not only switch to eco-friendly kitchen appliances but to use them in a responsible manner as well. By working together towards a greater good the environment has the best possible chance at recovering from past injustices and providing a safe habitat for all.
Writer: Sally Keys is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and traveling as much as possible.