Learn about appliance recycling terminology

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Recycling Terminology

Ferrous Fraction
The magnetic components of shredded appliances, primarily steel.

Non-Ferrous Fraction
The non-magnetic metallic portion of appliances like aluminum, copper and brass.

RAD Program
The Environmental Protection Agency's Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program is a voluntary partnership program that began in October 2006 to help protect the ozone layer and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. As part of the RAD Program, partners recover ozone-depleting chemicals from used refrigerators, freezers, window air conditioners, and dehumidifiers. Using best practices, RAD partners ensure that:

a. Refrigerant is recovered and reclaimed or destroyed
b. Foam is recovered and destroyed, or the blowing agent is recovered and
c. Metals, plastic, and glass are recycled
d. PCBs, mercury, and used oil are recovered and properly disposed

CFCs - Chlorofluorocarbons - commonly called Freon®, which was developed by DuPont. Older appliances have CFC-12 in the cooling loop; CFC-11 has since been commonly used as a blowing agent for refrigerator and freezer insulation.

ODS - Ozone Depleting Substance
Synthetic chemical such as chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), chlorofluoromethane, or halon used in aerosol cans, plastic foams, refrigerants, and certain solvents. Although having non-reactive (inert) properties, these compounds undergo decomposition in the higher reaches of the atmosphere (stratosphere) due to sunlight. Resulting chlorine atoms catalyze the decomposition of the ozone gas causing wide ‘holes’ in the protective ozone layer, thus allowing harmful ultraviolet rays to reach earth’s surface.

PUR - Polyurethane Foam, sometimes referred to as PU, is used as insulation in refrigerators and freezers and contains blowing agents.

Greenhouse gases - any of the gases whose absorption of solar radiation is responsible for the greenhouse effect, including carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, and the fluorocarbons.

HCFCs - Hydrochlorofluorocarbons - commonly called Freon®, which was developed by DuPont. Older appliances, such as freezers and air conditioners, contained HCFCs like R22. HCFCs were also used as blowing agents (i.e. R-141b).

HFCs - Hydrofluorocarbons - R-134a is commonly used in the cooling loop of refrigerators and freezers; R245fa has also been used as a blowing agent.

De minimus
A trifle or a triviality. Latin for, not enough to be considered.

Cyclopentane - is a chemical used in the refrigerator’s foam insulation that does not contain HFCs. Using cyclopentane results in significant reductions in equivalent CO2-e emissions. The URT system is designed to manage a variety of blowing agents used in insulating foam including Cyclopentane.

Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Using an object or material again, either for its original purpose or for a similar purpose, without significantly altering the physical form of the object or material. Reuse is not recycling, because recycling alters the physical form of an object or material.

ARCA and GE partner in EPA program for refrigerator recycling