People buying mini-fridges should be warned they can use up to four times as much energy as a standard fridge, the Liberal Democrats said today.
They accused manufacturers and retailers of exploiting a loophole in green regulations to sell the popular items without labels highlighting their impact on the environment.
Most electrical appliances now have to carry labels giving an energy efficiency rating under European Union regulations aimed at combating climate change.
But despite falling into the worst ‘G’ category, manufacturers insist the mini-fridges do not come within the EU scheme and will not label them.
The government has asked Brussels for clarification, warning in a consultation document that ‘it is likely that they (mini-fridges) are having a negative impact on policy activities to promote more efficient products’.
‘If the Directives intend that these products should be regulated, then current UK regulations can be used to withdraw the least efficient and ensure that products are labelled correctly,’ it said.
The Liberal Democrats said the small-scale coolers used more energy than US-style large fridge freezers and cost around £60 each year to run, more than some were sold for.
Each produced 0.25 tonnes of carbon dioxide, 3 per cent of a person’s annual emissions, the party said, meaning emissions would rise by 4 per cent or six million tonnes of carbon dioxide if every household was to buy one.
Environment spokesman Chris Huhne MP said: ‘Retailers such as Tesco should be ashamed to be pushing the sale of mini-fridges which are so environmentally irresponsible. It leaves its claim to be a greener grocer in tatters.
‘The government has failed to clamp down on the loophole in regulations which has allowed manufacturers to dodge the rules.
‘Anyone buying a mini-fridge just so they don’t have to get up off the sofa during the big match surely needs to know the environmental damage these devices cause.’
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