HOUSEHOLDERS in the Ryedale area are being urged to dispose of their old fridges and freezers carefully as new laws are introduced to protect the environment.

From January 1 all ozone depleting substances (ODS), such as chlorofluorocarbons, must be removed from refrigeration equipment before being scrapped.

That includes ODS in the cooling system of the refrigerator and the insulating foam inside the walls and door. Local authorities now have, by law, to remove all ODS from the fridge or freezer before final disposal.

In Ryedale the district council provides a collection service for bulky items such as fridges and freezers or they can be taken to any of the county council-run household waste sites.

The district's environmental co-ordinator, John Brown, said: "It is vital that Ryedale residents help to avoid illegal fly-tipping which can be of great detriment to the environment and a real hazard to small children or pets who may become harmed or trapped inside."