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GE Appliances & Lighting Partners with EPA to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
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February 09, 2011

GE Appliances & Lighting Partners with EPA to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By Carolyn J Dawson
TMCnet Contributor

GE Appliances & Lighting has formed a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The partnership will include EPA’s voluntary Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program’s practices, which help to protect the ozone layer and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The RAD program includes the recovery of foam in used refrigerators, and is consistent with GE's ecomagination initiative to deploy solutions for today's energy and environmental challenges. GE is the first appliance manufacture to take this initiative toward green technologies. GE is also in an agreement with the Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA) to reduce the typical landfill waste of a refrigerator by approximately 85 percent in weight.

According to the statistics of a recent survey conducted on behalf of GE, nearly 9 million refrigerators are disposed of annually in the U.S., and only a fraction of them had insulating foam in their walls and doors recycled. This leads to the possibility that 90 percent of used refrigerators in the U.S. are shredded for their metal and foam, while the rest of the materials typically go to a landfill. The shredding process emits a substantial amount of GHG and ozone-depleting substance (ODS) into the atmosphere.

Seventy percent of the survey respondents said they want all or part of their used appliance to be recycled. The partnership with EPA and the agreement with ARCA will ensure that GE will lead the refrigeration recycling movement. GE will supply used-appliance volume from a six-state region to ARCA Advanced Processing's regional recycling center in Pennsylvania, wherein ARCA using proven appliance recycling technology from UNTHA Recycling Technology (URT) will recover 95 percent of the insulating foam in refrigerators. This is bound to reduce landfill waste, green house gas emissions and ozone-depleting substances as compared to what typically happens in the industry.

In a release, the president and CEO of GE Appliances & Lighting, James Campbell, said, "GE's commitment to develop and deploy solutions to today's environmental challenges is a top priority. We have made major investments in home energy management and supported aggressive energy-efficiency standards for appliances. Working with the EPA and ARCA on responsible appliance disposal is another great step forward in the spirit of GE's ecomagination initiative."

The president and CEO of Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA), Jack Cameron, added, "ARCA prides itself on innovation. The technology we're investing in a precise, sealed and fully-automated refrigerator recycling system will be the first URT system in North America. 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. The potential of this technology is tremendous. If the foam from the 9 million refrigerators disposed of annually in the U.S. were processed through this recycling technology, 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."

Carolyn John is a Contributor to TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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