A Second Chance

Photo credits of DGH

“Can you see the lights out in that field? I work there” , my late grandmother Apung Elena used to say every time we passed by that field while pointing quickly at the lights from a long distance.

“Yes Apu, they look like big balloons at night”. The lights can be seen from afar amidst the dark skies from the high-way in Balibago, specifically near the “salakot” (giant hat-like shed). I remember my grandmother was working at a “vaskeri” (laundry department) in one of the companies in Clark Air Base in the Philippines in the early 90’s. One day, she came home with a used, big, industrial washing machine from her workplace and it served us its purpose for many years.

One day, she came with a used, big, industrial washing machine from her workplace and it served us its purpose for many years.

in memory of LOla Elena
Under repair.
Photo credits: “De Grønne Hvidevarer”



Today there are around 3,000 washing machines “hvidevarer” that are being thrown away  in Denmark alone, both to the recycling stations and to the companies who take used domestic goods, according to Miljøstyrelsen. I could imagine that these would be greatly appreciated in some developing countries like the Philippines. It takes a lot of resources to make a new one and some parts of whitewares have chemicals that are not good for the environment. We call them Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). In general, these whitewares have a 5 to 10-year warranty on their main motor and still, some people would rather buy a new one instead of calling the service provider for repair (which in theory is free (inside of the warranty period and under standard circumstances) or at least should not cost you a lot of money).

I had the opportunity to film our informal conversation about “how recycling of white wares” work.

Tommy Blaabjerg, Founder of “De Grønne Hvidevarer” (The Green White Wares). Filmed in Denmark, August 2021

De Grønne Hvidevarer

@DGH’s warehouse in Nørager in Hobro, Denmark

Tommy Blaabjerg, the man behind the De Grønne Hvidevarer  has been dedicating his time together with his wife Evelyn in fulfilling the concept of sustainability into a practical reality.

De Grønne Hvidevarer has been in the market since September 2018 and is gaining attention to the public. A case study has been conducted in connection to sustainability as a big national project and the company was chosen to be one of the main subjects together with Aalborg renovation and El Retur in 2019. It involves all the relevant participants from public to private sectors.

Picture above is a page from the Business News Magazine, Aalborg, Denmark. It is written in danish language.

Sheree: Why do you think some people are throwing away their whitewares instead of having them repaired (in Denmark specifically)? Is it the cost of repair or limited knowledge about companies who repairs whitewares?

Blockage at the bottom and top filter of the dryer can minimize the dry effect. The dryer vent is (more or less) blocked and because of that, the air flow will find other ways than through the filter and that causes excess lint to build up inside the machine and around critical components which overtime will have a mechanical and electrical faulty impact – slow domino effect.

The new concept is the refurbishing of thrown away appliances, mainly washing machines, dryers, inductions and ovens.

Sheree: Where do you normally find used whitewares? 

DGH has a cooperation with El-Retur and through different municipalities’ recycling stations (Aalborg, Aabybro, Hobro, Rebild, Horsens, Aarhus) and El-Salg Aalborg.

Sheree:What advice can you give to those who are purchasing second hand whitewares? Are brand names really stands for quality when it comes to whitewares?

DGH: When buying pre-loved appliances, consider the length of the warranty and the company’s reputation. There are brands that stand out. Usually there is a connection between the price and the quality but not always. Check the overall condition -physical and specifications of the unit (energy class, capacity, functions).

Thorough check-up.

DGH takes part in achieving five of the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.

Responsible consumption and production (12), Climate Action (13), Partnerships for the goals (17), Decent work and economic growth (8), Sustainable cities and communities (11)

Revised and updated on February 8, 2024. This article was originally published on July 2021 under my previous website www.shereeann.dk

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