With Appliance Recycling Centers of America, Fairfield-based General Electric Co. said it now has recycled 100,000 refrigerators and freezers using a giant machine, diverting 5.5 million pounds of refuse from landfills.
The 40-foot tall unit operated by ARCA recovers 95 percent of the insulating foam in refrigerators, with most of it going into new products and the rest used as fuel in cement manufacturing. Steel recovered from recycled appliances at ARCA’s Philadelphia recycling center is reused as steel deck bottom plates in new GE locomotives.
Roughly 9 million refrigerators are disposed of annually in the United States, and only a fraction of those have the insulating foam in their walls and doors recycled. While 90 percent of used refrigerators in the United States are shredded for their metal, the remaining foam and other materials typically go to a landfill.