Campaign launched to recycle and replace old refrigerators for energy-efficient equipment

  • The initiative seeks to renew 1,600 old units and raise awareness of their impact on the environment, as well as on household budgets. Almost 100 tons of material should be collected, and will be sent to an environmentally sound recycling plant for proper handling.
  • #Refriclaje is part of the initiative of “Accelerating the energy transition towards an efficient refrigerator and freezer market in Chile.” It is funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), implemented by the UN Environment, and executed by the Ministries of Energy and Environment, the Superintendency of Electricity and Fuels, and Fundación Chile, in partnership with the private sector, led by Sodimac.

In an effort to contribute to Chile’s energy transition by promoting energy efficiency as a means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (40%) and mitigate climate change, the #Refriclaje campaign was officially launched today. This initiative seeks to promote the recycling of old refrigerators and replace them with new energy-efficient appliances.

#Refriclaje is part of the initiative “Accelerating the energy transition towards an efficient refrigerator and freezer market in Chile”, funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF); implemented by the UN Environment, and executed by the Ministries of Energy and Environment, the Superintendency of Electricity and Fuels, and Fundación Chile in alliance with the private sector led by Sodimac and the main manufacturers of said electrical and electronic appliances.

The event was held at the Plaza Mayor of Maipú and was attended by the Mayor of Maipú, Tomás Vodanovic; Gonzalo Méndez, Seremi (Regional Ministerial Secretariats) of Energy of the Metropolitan Region; Guillermo González, head of the Circular Economy Office of the Ministry of the Environment; Angela Oblasser, VP of Sustainability at Fundación Chile, and Pablo Urbina, Assistant Manager of Sustainability at Sodimac.

The campaign seeks the replacement of 1,600 of these appliances, offering a 35% discount on the market price, in addition to a free removal and recycling service. The campaign also aims to raise awareness of the impact on the environment caused by keeping items that consume a great deal of energy and not recycling them in authorized locations, in addition to the significant expenditure on domestic electricity.

The Metropolitan Region’s Seremi of Energy, Gonzalo Méndez, said that, “this campaign is part of the many activities that we have carried out from the Ministry of Energy to make progress in proposals for the efficient use of energy. The labeling and minimum standards for appliances are a public policy that has had significant results since being implemented. Now, at this stage, we are promoting the replacement of old appliances by more efficient ones, based on a comprehensive approach, involving the community as well as the private sector. This initiative will enable households to achieve savings in their electricity bills and contribute to combating climate change.”

Meanwhile, Guillermo González, Head of the Circular Economy Office of the Ministry of Environment, stressed that “we must all contribute in caring for the environment and opting for more efficient refrigerators is a civic action that helps combat climate change, although it is also very important to manage the old appliances properly so that the refrigerant gases that affect the ozone layer and generate global warming are not released into the atmosphere; therefore, this initiative, which integrates the recycling option, is very relevant. In fact, as Ministry of Environment we are making progress in developing targets for the REP Law on electrical and electronic equipment, which will pay special attention to refrigerators, requiring producers to offer a pick-up service for the old refrigerator when purchasing a new one.”

Angela Oblasser, VP of Sustainability at Fundación Chile, noted “that in Chile 20% of a household’s electricity consumption corresponds to food refrigeration (refrigerator and freezer), making it one of the appliances with the highest energy consumption.” In this regard, she explained that the initiative “seeks to strengthen the efficient refrigerator market in the country through regulatory changes concerning the different refrigeration technologies and the design and implementation of refrigerator replacement models such as the Refriclaje Campaign.”

The new refrigerators’ sales and distribution logistics will be carried out by Sodimac. Their participation was determined in a simple bidding process carried out by Fundación Chile. Pablo Urbina, Assistant Manager of Sustainability at Sodimac, showed his appreciation for this initiative: “We are pleased to be part of this collaborative campaign, for the fight against climate change is an urgent need that requires us to join efforts and move from words into action. At Sodimac we are committed to reducing and mitigating the environmental impacts of our operations, for which we have implemented a complete environmental program.”

On the other hand, Tomás Vodanovic, the Mayor of Maipú, a municipality that participates sponsoring this campaign, pointed out that “Our planet is currently at risk, and needs solid solutions that will allow us to move towards a sustainable development. From the Municipality of Maipú, we have defined climate action as one of our 5 management lines of action, so we will always support initiatives that contribute to develop a Maipú that protects the environment.”

Vodanovic added that “in this task we know it is essential to articulate efforts between the public, private, and civil sectors. We applaud Fundación Chile for this initiative to remove and recycle refrigerators, and we invite more companies to promote projects of this kind. Only with a cross-cutting commitment from all stakeholders will we be able to meet the climate action goals we have set out as a nation,” he said.


Reciclapp is the company in charge of the removal of the appliances along the country through authorized recyclers; as well as the storing and transfer to the Regener recycling plant, which has a unique process in Chile for one of the most dangerous and harmful components for the environment: the refrigerant gases. Almost 100 tons of material is expected to be collected, of which 75% is foreseen to be ferrous, 10% plastic, 8% foams, 6% glass, and 1% refrigerant gases. The waste will undergo an appropriate environmental management.

The refrigerator brands that accepted the invitation to join the initiative are: Samsung, Mabe, Midea, Hisense, and Mademsa, totaling 10 energy-efficient models.

Anyone interested must register at www.refriclaje.cl to access the discount, which is made possible by the contribution of “Accelerating the energy transition to a market for efficient refrigerators and freezers in Chile”, Sodimac and the brands.

The purchase is made exclusively through the e-commerce channel Sodimac.cl. Some of the requirements consist in delivering an old refrigerator for its recycling, and being located in one of the seven regions and communes that are involved in the campaign, given the country’s constraints in terms of authorized collection and recycling capacities.

Sodimac has more than 5,300 different products and services with sustainable attributes. The company works with suppliers to reduce containers and packaging and make them recyclable; it has 53 stores with photovoltaic panels, completing all those technically feasible; and 90% of its energy supply comes from renewable energies. Its National Network of Collection Points is the largest private network in the country and seeks to continue reducing the waste they generate, in addition to increasing their recycling. It is also making progress in electromobility and neutralizing the CO2 footprint from their domestic deliveries, among other initiatives.

More information  https://refriclaje.cl

Figures for Chile

It is estimated that currently there are approximately one million refrigerators 15 years and older in the country. They consume more than twice as much energy as new technologies, generating about 1,000 tons of CO2 equivalent per day. The gases from a single old appliance could cause the same damage to the atmosphere as a medium-sized vehicle traveling twice round trip from Arica to Punta Arenas (3.140,2 miles).

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