Minneapolis, Minnesota - Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA) has signed an agreement to recycle GE refrigerators in support of the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) programme.
GE Appliances & Lighting is the first appliance manufacturer to join the voluntary programme, it said in 8 Feb press release. The programme focuses on best practices in refrigeration appliance recycling, including the recovery of foam in used refrigerators.
GE will supply used appliances from a six-state region to ARCA Advanced Processing's regional recycling centre in Pennsylvania. ARCA is investing in appliance recycling technology from UNTHA Recycling Technology (URT) that recovers about 95 percent of the insulating foam in refrigerators, reducing landfill waste and emissions.
The URT system includes the capability to automatically capture the blowing agents, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and cyclopentane from the insulating foam in refrigerators and freezers.
About nine million refrigerators are disposed of annually in the US, according to GE's release, the insulating foam in their walls and doors is recycled in only a small number of these. Some 90 percent of used refrigerators in the US are shredded for their metal, and during this process, a substantial amount of greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances are released into the atmosphere.
"The potential of this technology is tremendous," said Brian Conners, president of ARCA Advanced Processing. "If the foam from the 9 million refrigerators disposed of annually in the US were processed through this recycling technology, the greenhouse gas emissions avoided would be equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of more than 2.4 million cars on US roads."