A new spin on appliance recycling education

Circuit City joins forces with ILACSD and SRI to get the word out

hat happens to that old appliance when it is replaced with the latest model? Shoppers at San Diego-area Circuit City stores are learning about the importance of recycling used appliances through a cooperative education effort being co-sponsored by I Love A Clean San Diego County, Inc. (ILACSDC) and the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI).
"Circuit City's commitment to recycling, combined with their high visibility in San Diego County, made them a logical choice as partner for this consumer-oriented education program," said Ann Lundeen, Program Coordinator for ILACSDC. In-store signage and consumer brochures encourage customers to recycle their used appliances. There are 27 recycling locations in the San Diego area, as well as regular appliance collection events coordinated by ILACSDC.
Appliance recycling education is especially important in California, which is one of 18 states to ban disposal of used appliances in landfills. Such bans are partially responsible for the increase in the appliance recycling rate, which reached an all-time high of 70.2 percent in 1994.
Major home appliances, including refrigerators and freezers, washing machines and dryers, dishwashers, stoves and ranges, air conditioners and water heaters, are made of about 75 percent steel - America's most recycled material.
"The nearly two million tons of steel scrap recovered through appliance recycling in 1994 was returned to the steel industry to be remelted into new steel," said Jerry Thompson, vice president of marketing for SRI. In fact, the steel production process requires the use of old steel to make new steel. Subsequently all new steel products, including appliances, cans, cars, construction materials and other products such as toys, office supplies and tools, all contain recycled steel.
Once collected (either through local collection programs or through drop-off at a local scrap processor), a used appliance enters the scrap recovery network.
First, appliances that contain refrigerants (such as refrigerators and air conditioners) must have the refrigerants reclaimed for reuse.
Next, other usable parts, including electric motors, switches and other components, will then be removed. The metal from these components (including steel, copper, aluminum and brass) can also be recycled.
Finally, the appliance will be shredded into small pieces. After shredding, a magnet separates the steel portion of the shred to be sent on to the steel mill to be remelted into new steel products.
The nation's 1,600 scrap processors recovered more than 1.9 million tons of steel from appliances in 1994.
For more information about appliance recycling locations in San Diego County, please contact the Recycling Hotline at 467-0903 or 800/237-2583.
I Love A Clean San Diego County, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of environmental issues through a variety of educational and community-based activities.
The Steel Recycling Institute, an industry association dedicated to promoting and sustaining steel recycling, is the primary information and technical resource for recyclers, municipalities, legislators, educators, businesses and other entities interested in steel recycling. Through its seven regional offices, SRI works directly with city and county recycling coordinators, recycling organizations, solid waste managers, recycling operators, intermediate processors and end market buyers.