GE Expands Appliance Recycling Options for Consumers, Retailers

September 12, 2011 / Sally Hunt, Home Devices Expert

GE is expanding appliance recycling options for consumers and retailers as its partner, Appliance Recycling Centers of America, Inc. (NASDAQ: ARCI), has doubled its service offerings to 12 states in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S.

GE Expands Appliance Recycling Options for Consumers, Retailers

At present, 70 percent of consumers want all or part of their appliances recycled, and 82 percent will go out of their way to purchase from a manufacturer that recycles, GE noted. Sixty-seven percent are even willing to pay more if a retailer offers recycling programs – making an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program partnership a desirable goal for appliance retailers, according to a 2010 survey conducted by the Stevenson Company on behalf of GE Appliances & Lighting.

It was in February this year when GE became the first appliance manufacturer to partner with the EPA in their Responsible Appliance Disposal Program to help protect the ozone layer and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The EPA’s voluntary program focuses on refrigeration appliance recycling best practices, including the recovery of foam in used refrigerators, consistent with GE’s ecomaginationsm initiative to deploy solutions for today’s energy and environmental challenges.

As the first and only major appliance manufacturer to partner with the EPA RAD Program, GE said it is helping retailers become partners of the program as well – helping differentiate them among consumers in this tough economy.

“We envision a day when consumers walk into a retail store and are presented with a myriad of new appliance options – including appliances that are clearly marked with information about the manufacturer’s and retailer’s recycling practices and participation with the EPA RAD Program,” said Mark Shirkness, general manager, distribution services, GE Appliances & Lighting.

“The RAD Program is the industry’s marquee recycling initiative. Similar to ENERGY STAR, it’s designed to create consumer awareness.”

Currently, about 40 percent of appliances collected by retailers are resold – putting inefficient, used models back on the grid. In a new initiative to engage appliance retailers in the RAD Program, GE will help ensure a steady stream of appliances to the ARCA Advanced Processing (AAP) regional recycling facility in Philadelphia, Pa.

To encourage retailers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S. to participate in the RAD Program, GE will help facilitate the retailer’s relationship with AAP, ARCA and the EPA; GE will provide RAD Program retail partners with marketing assistance to promote their program participation to consumers; and ARCA will haul away the retailer’s used appliance volume for delivery to AAP3 and support the retailer in reporting environmental metrics annually to the EPA.

Since February, GE and ARCA have doubled the number of states where recycling services are offered, providing 100,000 additional appliance units to AAP annually. AAP now receives used appliances from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Delaware, Rhode Island and Vermont.

“EPA applauds GE and ARCA’s commitment to expanding recycling options for consumer appliances,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

“Their innovative partnership helps to reduce pollution, eliminate waste and protect the Earth’s ozone layer. EPA encourages other manufacturers to follow their example.”

Now operational, AAP’s advanced refrigerator recycling technology, the UNTHA Recycling Technology (URT) system recovers approximately 95 percent of the insulating foam in refrigerators based on ARCA Advanced Processing letter dated December 2010 re: PUR recovery rates. URT also reduces typical landfill waste of the refrigerator by 85 percent by weight based on the component listing found in the American Plastics Council 1994 Composition, Properties and Economic Study of Recycled Refrigerators Report.

Additionally, it lowers greenhouse gas and ozone depleting substance (ODS) emissions recovered from insulating foam compared to what typically happens in the industry today; recovers high-quality plastics, aluminum, copper, steel, and even pelletized foam from refrigerators that can be used to make new products, such as GE locomotives.

A 40-foot tall engineering marvel, the URT system – which is the only URT system in North America and the only refrigerator recycling system of this scale in the U.S. – is capable of recycling 150,000 refrigerator units per year.

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