A quick tour of the next-generation closed-loop process
Why we recycle in the first place
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates 9.4 million refrigerators and freezers, 6.3 million window air-conditioning units, and nearly 964 thousand dehumidifiers were disposed of in the United States in 2011.
Improper disposal of these old appliances threatens air, ground, and water resources because many of these goods contain highly toxic substances that significantly damage the environment.
For example, the cooling agents in refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners, if improperly handled, can release significant ozone-depleting substances into the atmosphere.
Not all recycling is the same
Fortunately, federal law requires proper disposal or recycling of appliances.
However, the majority of recycling companies in the U.S. today do a poor job of containing toxic components and dealing appropriately with waste. Many cut and break refrigerators and other large appliances in an uncontrolled environment. When this happens, there is no appropriate extraction or capture of harmful emissions, so chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and harmful polluting dusts are released into the atmosphere.
Unsophisticated recyclers also engage in hazardous waste handling as they arrange for transportation of contaminated foam and coolant to third-party incineration facilities. Often times these third-party incineration facilities are not equipped to deal with incineration of CFCs, which can create more harmful byproducts, including acids, nitrogen oxides and dioxins. In addition to these harmful atmospheric releases, the foams, even burned, still have a solid waste component that generally sends 30% of the original weight to the landfill.
Recleim is next-generation recycling
Our proprietary recycling process recovers approximately 98% of the insulating foam in refrigerators; reduces typical landfill waste of the refrigerator by at least 95% by weight; lowers greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting substance (ODS) emissions from insulating foam (compared to what typically happens with less sophisticated recyclers); and recovers high-quality plastics, aluminum, copper, steel and even pelletized foam from refrigerators that can be used to make new products.
Recleim’s recycling system also reduces emissions of ODS and greenhouse gases (GHGs). Properly handling aging and end of life appliances reduces energy consumption, increases the recycling of durable goods, and ensures the proper handling of hazardous substances. We reduce emissions of ODS by recovering and reclaiming or destroying the ODS refrigerants (CFC-12, HCFC-22) and foam-blowing agents (CFC-11, HCFC-141b) contained in household appliances.
The recovery of CFC, HCFC, and HFC refrigerants and foam-blowing agents from household appliances results in significant climate benefits, as these substances are all potent GHGs. In addition, the recycling of durable materials from appliances results in lower emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) associated with the generation of electricity, which would have otherwise been needed to produce virgin materials.
To find out more about our next-generation services and to learn how our services can be customized to meet the needs of your business, click here to contact us.