GE removes temptation to place old appliances at the curb

GE removes temptation to place old appliances at the curb

Summary: As the first manufacturer to join the EPA Responsible Appliance Disposal program, GE is encouraging its retailers to take back the old in order to sell the new.

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TOPICS: CXO
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The URT system can recycle 150,000 refrigeration units per year, reducing waste to landfill by 85 percent of weight.

The URT system can recycle 150,000 refrigeration units per year, reducing waste to landfill by 85 percent of weight.

Every once in a while, one of my neighbors will set out some massive appliance at the curb, with the hope that the waste management team eventually will pick it up and take it AWAY. There have been quite a few ruined items appearing and disappearing over the last several weeks, courtesy of Hurricane Irene flooding. Realistically, these hunks of metal and machinery are now better than the computers and monitors that at least half U.S. states now require that we recycle or reuse. But it hasn't been all that convenient to figure out how to do so.

GE Appliances seeks to change that. The company essentially is doubling its recycling services to consumers in 12 states across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions through an expanded partnership with Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA). The effort fits under the mantle of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) program. The program provides for the reclamation and destruction of refrigerant; the disposal of foam; recycling of metals, plastics and glass; and recovery of substances such as polychlorinate biphenyls (PCBs), mercury and used oil.

GE cites research suggesting that 70 percent of consumers would like their old appliances recycled when they buy one; up to 82 percent said they will go out of their way to buy from a manufacturer that recycles. That was all GE really needed to hear in order to expand its recycling options.

Said Mark Shirkness, general manager of distribution services for GE Appliances & Lighting:

"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."

The Home Depot is teaming with GE on this effort, after becoming a RAD member over the summer of 2011. GE has negotiated a relationship with the ARCA facility near Philadelphia, where the appliances collected by its participating retailers can be processed. As a result of that relationship, ARCA has created an advanced processing center that will add about 50 green jobs in the Philadelpia facility. A 40-foot tall system, called URT (the only system of its type in North America), will recycle up to 150,000 refrigerators per year.

Right now, the EPA believes that about 40 percent of the old appliances collected by retailers are resold. The problem with that, of course, is that they are more inefficient and use way more energy than current models ("The green credentials of the common refrigerator"). GE believes the expansion of its program will mean that another 100,000 appliances are recycled annually, double what it currently handles. The states covered by the service are: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

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15 comments
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  • HOGWASH

    82% of consumers are not going to go out of their way to use a manufacturer that recycles. Come on. 70% wanting their appliance recycled is also nonsense. I can just imagine how the questions were asked and who was asked to get those responses.
    m0o0o0o0o
    • RE: GE removes temptation to place old appliances at the curb

      @m0o0o0o0o Many will put an old still working appliance on Craig's list for, if you want it you can have it, if you haul it away! It may not be as efficient as a new one, but it might save someone from having to go into credit debt!
      leopards
    • Not complete hogwash

      @m0o0o0o0o

      Granted, it's a survey, so people will tend to say *what they think people want to hear*. Being pro-environment without coming across as a complete Luddite nutcase always *sounds* good & makes you look more saintly, so there were undoubtedly a number of people that said "yes" when they didn't really mean it.

      That being said... aside from the fact that you end up shelling out money for a new appliance, people are *very* sensitive to their utility bills. That's one part of the economy that hasn't dropped off: the rates utility companies charge have continued to grow during the past few years. Tell customers that they can save a decent percentage (say, 10-20%) off their utility bills, & they'll start thinking it's a good idea.

      As for going "out of their way"... considering you can buy GE appliances at most stores -- including some (like Best Buy) that are already part of the same government RAD affiliate program -- & it's not really "out of the way" to go & buy a new refrigerator.
      spdragoo@...
  • RE: GE removes temptation to place old appliances at the curb

    Actually, if it was available in this area of [Atlantic] Canada, I would recycle appliances - particularly our 20+ year old GE microwave that still works (even if it does take a little bit longer sometimes for cooking). I already turn in old phones (once personal data is wiped). There's enough crap filling the garbage dumps that will never be recycled and broke down. If they can use appliance parts and materials, the better off.
    Ceridwyn2
  • Just How Much is the GE Green Makeover Costing Taxpayers

    Big corporate never does anything out of goodwill. They will spin it as good will but there's always a pay foof behind the scenes motivating their actions and its usually in the form of a tax break, tax credit or outright pay off from the Federal government which means money out of our pockets since the government is funded by our taxes directly or indirectly.

    I think recycling of older appliances, big and small is a great idea . What I don???t like is how GE or any other big corporate giant is taking advantage of it to shine their image when it is almost certainly a tax payer funded operation. The only question is how much is GE???s image makeover to GREEN costing us?
    BlueCollarCritic
  • Alternative Headline: GE Removes Temptation to Pay Taxes, AGAIN

    "Today GE announced a new tax free program in which the company agreed to never pay any corporate taxes again so long as they agreed to promote the Green movement" <br><br>Now thats a headline people would believe
    BlueCollarCritic
  • RE: GE removes temptation to place old appliances at the curb

    All I care about when buying an appliance is that I get free delivery, and the deliverer/installer takes the old one away for free.
    WindowWasher
  • Germany vs USA - Recycling

    When refrigerators are recycled, nitrogen fulfils two roles: thanks to it being extremely cold, liquid nitrogen enables the greenhouse gas CFC to be frozen out of the exhaust gas of the recycling plant and, in a gaseous form, also provides protection against dust explosions while the refrigerators are being broken up. Each month the industrial gas specialist Messer supplies 100,000 m?? of liquid nitrogen for the refrigerator recycling plant of Noex AG, a company belonging to Entsorgungsgesellschaft Niederrhein mbH. In Grevenbroich, near Cologne, Noex operates one of the most modern recycling plants in Germany. Noex disposes of around 300,000 to 400,000 refrigerators a year; a large percentage of these are still devices which contain CFC.


    Germany vs USA - Recycling

    http://youtu.be/odGFoWPQWDk
    old mainframer
  • RE: GE removes temptation to place old appliances at the curb

    Growing up I knew quite a few people who had an old refrigerator in their rec room or garage, either equipped with a keg and tap, or at least filled with pop and/or beer, and it's freezer full of ice cream treats or extra ice. Any appliance that wasn't personally recycled in this manner was donated to Goodwill, where they learned how to recondition it for resale to those who couldn't afford brand new.
    HawaiiBound
  • RE: GE removes temptation to place old appliances at the curb

    Now if HP would take back all those junk inkjets...
    schlicht@...
  • RE: GE removes temptation to place old appliances at the curb

    In my neighborhood, the appliances don't stay at the curb long. We have people that prowl the area on the night before trash day looking for scrap metal to take to the recyclers. For some, its their income. Personally, when we had an extra set, we used craigslist to sell them...there is a large used/cheap appliance market.
    howestodd
  • This is just industry propaganda

    They're trying to make you buy new machines! Of course thats what they want. Studies have shown that using an old machine until it has no more uses is far more environmentally beneficial than manufacturing and transporting a new one. The newer machines also contain far more rare earths and toxic chemicals that have to be strip mined and processed. Research the effects of manufacturing our supposedly "environmentally friendly" and "efficient" technologies in China. Don't be duped. These lobbyists think we are stupid.
    Thorog
  • RE: GE removes temptation to place old appliances at the curb

    They're trying to make you buy new machines! Of course thats what they want. Studies have shown that using an old machine until it has no more uses is far more environmentally beneficial than manufacturing and transporting a new one. The newer machines also contain far more rare earths and toxic chemicals that have to be strip mined and processed. Research the effects of manufacturing our supposedly "environmentally friendly" and "efficient" technologies in China. Don't be duped. These lobbyists think we are stupid.
    Thorog
  • RE: GE removes temptation to place old appliances at the curb

    This is not as green as it seems. Appliance retailers do not support reuse because it cuts into their sale of new machines. Our nonprofit, ReUse Works, in Bellingham, WA, has not been able to purchase old customer machines from retailers to support our job training program, even when we offer to match the scrap rate paid by the recyclers. If this GE proposal takes effect, it will force reuse nonprofits such as ours out of the market. I think this is a disguise for market control and the elimination of reuse, using the frail argument of appliance efficiency, which outside of refrigeration, is minimal. Reuse is better for the planet, becuase it saves the embodied energy of the original production.
    djager@...
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