OIL & REFRIGERANT is simultaneously evacuated from the compressor and cooling circuit of each refrigerator and freezer. The oil is shipped to a qualified handler for cleaning and can be used in other industrial equipment. The refrigerant is captured and shipped to a qualified handler for proper disposal (CFC-12) or recycling (HFC-134a). Capacitors suspected to contain hazardous PCBs are also shipped to a qualified handler for proper disposal.
FOAM INSULATION can be found in the walls of refrigerators and freezers between the metal exterior and the plastic interior surfaces. Much of this insulation was manufactured using ozone-depleting chemicals and needs to be properly handled. Approximately 10 pounds of foam insulation is in each unit. The foam is shredded under negative air pressure, and the harmful chemicals are converted to benign byproducts such as salt water.
MERCURY CONTAINING DEVICES are found in some refrigerators and freezers. These switches and thermostats are removed and shipped to a qualified handler for proper disposal.
GLASS used for shelving in refrigerators is tempered and can't be sent through normal glass recycling processes because it melts at a much higher temperature. Approximately 5 pounds of tempered glass is in each unit. It can be used as an aerator in potting soil and as aggregate material in types of concrete.
METALS are the largest component of refrigerators and freezers. Approximately 125 pounds of steel and another 5 pounds of copper and aluminum are in each unit. The steel can be recycled into products such as construction rebar to reinforce concrete, while the copper can be used to make electrical wire and the aluminum can be used to make beverage cans.
PLASTICS are the second most abundant material in refrigerators and freezers. Approximately 25 pounds of plastic is in each unit. The plastic can be recycled into products such as cell phones, computer cases, and other molded components.