Nearly 95% of each unit is recycled. All recycling procedures follow guidelines and best practices promoted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). DP&L is a utility partner in the EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal Program.

Recleim, a contractor hired to recycle refrigerators for DP&L, safely disposes of toxins and ozone-destroying chlorofluorocarbon (CFC-11) gases from foam insulation. After capturing toxins (oils, mercury, pcbs) and ozone-depleting substances, (CFC-11 and other foam insulation blowing agents and CFC-12 and other refrigerants) Recleim recycles all the plastic, metals and glass in the fridge, thus limiting landfill waste.

Step-by-Step Process

  1. Metals and plastics – Remove interior metal and plastic and recycle.
    Metals are the largest component of refrigerators and freezers. Approximately 125 pounds of steel and 5 pounds of copper and aluminum are in each unit. The steel can be recycled into rebar or another appliance, copper can be used to make electrical wire and aluminum can be used to make soda cans.
    Plastics are the second most abundant material in the refrigerators and freezers. Approximately 25 pounds are in each unit. The plastic can be recycled into products such as cell phones, computer cases or other molded components. 
  2. Glass – Remove and crush glass shelving.
    Glass used 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 are in each unit. It can be recycled as an aerator in potting soil, and as aggregate material in countertops and certain types of concrete.
  3. Refrigerator or freezer shell unit – The shell of the unit is shredded under negative atmosphere in a high tech, automated system that separates the shredded plastic, various kinds of metal and the components of the foam insulation that include blowing agents that can be harmful to the atmosphere and are greenhouse gases.
  4. Polyurethane foam insulation – Found between the walls of the units, the polyurethane foam insulation in the units were blown in with blowing agents that can be ozone depleting substances (CFCs) and also powerful greenhouse gases (CFCs and HCFCs). In the negative atmosphere shredder, the foam gases are separated from the polyurethane.  The harmful gases are neutralized through a special catalytic process in this unique closed-loop system and the pulverized polyurethane is pelletized for recycling.  
  5. Oils and refrigerant – Recleim systems remove ozone-depleting refrigerant and/or compressor oils that may be contaminated by refrigerant (CFC-12, HFC-134a, R-22 or R-410). The system degasses the oil to remove and recover the refrigerant. Refrigerant is destroyed on-site through the same advanced catalytic process as the foam blowing agents, or it is reclaimed per ARI standards. The oil can be recycled for use in other industrial equipment. 
  6. Capacitors – Remove any capacitors containing PCBs. Capacitors suspected of containing hazardous PCBs are shipped to a qualified handler for proper destruction.
  7. Mercury-containing devices – Remove mercury-containing switches and thermostats and ship to a qualified handler for recycling.