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 URT machine, a unique, 40-foot-tall machine, recovers approximately 95% of the insulating foam in refrigerators and freezers, reducing landfill waste and greenhouse gas and ozone depleting substance emissions.
As a result of this milestone, reached in early September 2012, an estimated 5.5 million pounds of refrigerator and freezer material has been diverted from U.S. landfills. 89% of the material has been recovered for reuse for new products and 11% is being used as fuel in cement manufacturing.
"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% of used refrigerators in the U.S. are shredded for their metal, the remaining foam and other materials typically go to a landfill. 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 emissions of more than 2.4 million cars on U.S. roads.
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.
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