100,000th Refrigerator Recycled as Part of GE Agreement with Appliance Recycling Centers of America

  • 100,000 refrigerators and freezers have now made their way through the revolutionary UNTHA Recycling Technology system
  • Innovative recycling system reduces landfill waste and greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting substance emissions
  • Initiative has diverted 5.5 million pounds of material from U.S. landfills1

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- This week, GE, in collaboration with Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA), reached a milestone of 100,000 refrigerators and freezers recycled through North America’s only UNTHA Recycling Technology (URT) System. ARCA’s (Nasdaq: ARCI) URT machine, a unique 40-foot-tall engineering marvel, recovers approximately 95 percent of the insulating foam in refrigerators and freezers,2 reducing landfill waste and greenhouse gas and ozone depleting substance emissions.

The URT system can process approximately one refrigerator per minute. GE, in collaboration with Appl ...

The URT system can process approximately one refrigerator per minute. GE, in collaboration with Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA), reached a milestone of 100,000 refrigerators and freezers recycled. (Photo: GE)

As a result of this milestone, an estimated 5.5 million pounds of refrigerator and freezer material has been diverted from U.S. landfills.1 Eighty-nine percent of the material has been recovered for reuse for new products, and 11 percent is being used as fuel in cement manufacturing.1

“This achievement represents a significant advance in how appliances are recycled in the U.S.,” said Brian Conners, president and COO of ARCA Advanced Processing (AAP). “As a result of our work with GE Appliances, AAP has made great strides toward achieving our goal of zero landfill appliance recycling.”

Roughly 9 million refrigerators are disposed of annually in the U.S.,and only a fraction of those have the insulating foam in their walls and doors recycled. While 90 percent of used refrigerators in the U.S. are shredded for their metal, the remaining foam and other materials typically go to a landfill.3 If the foam from all of those refrigerators was processed through the URT system, the greenhouse gas emissions avoided would be equivalent to the annual CO2-e emissions of more than 2.4 million cars on U.S. roads.4

How the GE Appliance Recycling Initiative Works

As part of GE’s agreement with ARCA, when qualifying consumers purchase a new appliance from a participating retailer in the 12-state region, their old unit will be taken away when their new one is delivered. The old unit will then be transported to the Philadelphia-based AAP center for recycling. Consumers can find a participating Retailer in their area at www.geappliances.com/refrigerator-recycling.

Economic Impact

Integral to GE’s agreement with ARCA is a commitment to supply used appliance volumes from a 12-state region into AAP’s recycling center. ARCA, in turn, has invested in proven appliance recycling technology and has created more than 50 green jobs in Pennsylvania proving how market-based solutions such as these can drive economic success. This initiative demonstrates the potential for future growth in foam recycling technology throughout the U.S. industry.

A Cradle-to-Cradle Appliance Approach

GE takes a cradle-to-cradle approach to managing the life cycle of an appliance, from the manufacturing of refrigerators with more environmentally sustainable insulating material to responsible end-of-life disposal. Steel recovered from recycled appliances at AAP’s recycling center is reused as steel deck bottom plates in new GE locomotives. GE Appliances is the only appliance manufacturer to partner collectively in four voluntary Environmental Protection Agency programs: ENERGY STAR®;Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD); WasteWise, an initiative focused on waste reduction and saving environmental resources while reducing emissions; and SmartWay®, a program designed to help lower transportation-related emissions.

The partnership with these programs is consistent with the company’s ecomaginationSM initiative to deploy solutions for today’s energy and environmental challenges.

'One year ago we helped welcome the country's first fully automated URT System facility,' said Sarah Dunham, director of EPA's Office of Atmospheric Programs. 'GE Appliances' continued success as a partner in EPA's Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program helps protect the Earth's ozone layer, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and divert materials from landfills.'

A long-time ENERGY STAR partner, GE offers approximately 500 ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances, which deliver efficiency and cost savings to customers over product life.5

About Appliance Recycling Centers of America

ARCA (www.ARCAInc.com), one of the nation’s largest recyclers of major household appliances for the energy conservation programs of electric utilities, currently provides services for more than 175 utility programs in the U.S. and Canada. Toxic chemicals and environmentally harmful materials such as ozone-depleting refrigerants, PCBs, mercury and oil are carefully recovered in the decommissioning process for destruction or disposal, preventing them from contaminating soil, air and water resources. The company is also the exclusive North American distributor for UNTHA Recycling Technology (URT), a materials recovery system for household refrigeration appliances.

About GE Appliances

GE Appliances is at the forefront of building innovative, energy-efficient appliances that improve people’s lives. GE Appliances’ products include refrigerators, freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers, dryers, air conditioners, water filtration systems and water heaters. General Electric (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter to build a world that works better. For more information on GE Appliances, visit www.ge.com/appliances.

1Based on ARCA Advanced Processing file dated August 2012 re: Material not sent to landfill

2Based on ARCA Advanced Processing letter dated December 2010 re: PUR recovery rates

3Based on results from a survey undertaken by AHAM as reported in UNEP 2005 and recently reported by ICF International in April 2010 report

4Based on Stevenson Company data and calculations using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency global warming potential (GWP) equivalents: http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html

5Compared to non-ENERGY STAR appliances

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