The process of recycling these appliances, known as “white goods,” is a long one. Each appliance has to be broken down carefully so that the harmful substances are not released into the air or soil. Any reusable parts also have to be set aside and cataloged. GE actually helped to support the only UNTHA Recycling Technology System, or URT in North America. This was done through a partnership with the Appliance Recycling Centers of America, or ARCA. With this new technology, GE has been able to process some one-hundred thousand refrigerators, which kept up to five-and-a-half million pounds of freezer and refrigerator materials out of the landfills of the United States.
GE explains that as many as nine million refrigerators are tossed out each year in America. The majority of them are simple shredded for the metals and such that they are made of, while the other forty-seven pounds of insulation and foam wind up buried in America's landfills. Through the URT system, and with the help of ARCA and the Environmental Protection Agency, GE has managed to help more Americans completely recycle their refrigerators.
So what exactly is the URT system? It is a huge machine (40-feet tall) which takes large items and “eats” them, leaving the items as small as possible. It takes approximately one minute for the URT system to disassemble an entire refrigerator, where it used to take hours for the parts to be taken off and the harmful chemicals to be removed. The URT can recover as much as 95% of the insulation and foam, which is inside of both freezers and refrigerators, and reuses it as fuel or for making new products.
GE helps new customers by making the arrangements needed to take away old appliances anytime the consumer buys a new one. When the new unit is delivered, the old one is then taken to be processed properly.
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