- It is estimated that 55 million appliances will be removed from service this year.
- Last year, appliances were recycled at a rate of 72%.
- Major home appliances make up about 10% of the steel processed by the recycling industry (cars make up 80%).
- Approximately 75% of the typical major household appliance is made of steel, America’s most recycled material.
- Appliances also contain other recyclable materials, including aluminum, copper, CFC refrigerants and some plastics.
- Older appliances can contain environmentally harmful materials such as mercury and PCBs. These substances must be removed and managed properly before recycling an appliance.
- Using recycled steel has a positive impact on the environment, since it takes four times as much energy to manufacture steel from virgin ore as it does to make the same steel from recycled scrap.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has identified six major benefits of using scrap instead of virgin materials — iron ore and coal — in making new steel:
- 97% Reduction in mining wastes
- 90% Savings in virgin materials use
- 86% Reduction in air pollution
- 76% Reduction in water pollution
- 74% Savings in energy
- 40% Reduction in water use
Average Steel Content of Major Home Appliances
- Refrigerators: 123 lb
- Clothes Washers: 97 lb
- Clothes Dryers: 100 lb
- Dishwashers: 50 lb
- Room Air Conditioners: 45 lb
- Ranges (gas): 155 lb
- Ranges (electric): 84 lb
- Microwave Ovens: 27 lb
Appliance recycling conserves natural resources: Every ton of steel recycled saves 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of coal, and 120 pounds of limestone.