Friday, February 18, 2011

GE & ARCA Partnership Will Boost Steel Appliance Recycling

General Electric Appliances & Lighting have reached an agreement with the Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA). This appliance recycling agreement will keep valuable steel from becoming landfill waste. This announcement teams along side the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program to responsibly dispose of refrigerators and other appliances by diverting them from landfills and into the recycling process.

Purchasing new and improved appliances not only increase energy efficiency around the house, the old and inefficient appliances they’re replacing are being put to excellent use as well. According to a recent GE survey, nearly 9 million refrigerators are disposed of every year in the United States. The average steel weight of a refrigerator is about 100 pounds and the annual steel recycling rate of appliances is 90%. That means roughly 45,000 tons of steel are being improperly discarded and are missed opportunities for new products.

Seventy percent of survey respondents also said they want all or part of their used appliance to be recycled. To make sure the consumers’ desires are met, GE will supply used appliances from several different states to ARCA’s Advanced Processing regional recycling center in Philadelphia. There they can recover 95% of insulating foam from refrigerators which will reduce landfill waste, green house gas emissions and ozone-depleting substances.

In addition they will continue to utilize the RAD program, which the EPA has run since 2006. They are working with partners such as municipalities, universities, utility companies and major retailers Sears and Best Buy, to accept old appliances and offer vouchers or rebates on bills or new purchases. This also benefits utility companies by removing old, inefficient appliances off the power grid. The force behind a company as large as GE will continue to improve on its already established success.
"GE's commitment to develop and deploy solutions to today's environmental challenges is a top priority,” the President and CEO of GE Appliances & Lighting, James Campbell, stated in a press release. “Working with the EPA and ARCA on responsible appliance disposal is another great step forward in the spirit of GE's Ecomagination initiative."

GE’s own Ecomagination, launched in 2005, has been an initiative aimed at presenting “green” solutions to global problems. In 2009, $1.5 billion was invested in research and development and the company has an expressed goal of putting forth an additional $10 billion by 2015. These investments have helped create such improvements as reducing green house gas emissions by 22 percent compared to 2004 and reducing water consumption 30 percent compared to 2006.

Those same goals and more are what ARCA has been pushing towards since it’s inception in the mid-1970s. They helped establish the nation’s first large scale appliance recycling center in 1989 and were also key members in shaping the EPA’s current RAD system.

"ARCA prides itself on innovation,” stated President and CEO Jack Cameron. “With GE's logistics expertise and customer relationships and ARCA's investment in this leading-edge technology, this partnership is a game-changer for U.S. appliance recycling.”

For more information on GE’s Ecomagination initiative, please visit http://www.ecomagination.com.

For more information the EPA’s RAD Program, please visit http://www.epa.gov/ozone/partnerships/rad/.

For more information on ARCA, please visit http://www.arcainc.com.