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GE Appliances is First Appliance Manufacturer to Partner in Four Voluntary EPA Programs

Giving customers one more reason to choose GE appliances, GE announced today that it has become a partner with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WasteWise Program – a voluntary initiative focused on waste reduction and saving environmental resources while reducing emissions. GE also announced its partnership with EPA’s SmartWay® Program to help lower transportation-related emissions.

A key element of GE's Responsible Appliance Disposal Program Partnership is the URT system: a 40-foo ...

A key element of GE's Responsible Appliance Disposal Program Partnership is the URT system: a 40-foot tall engineering marvel that helps reduce refrigerator landfill waste by 85 percent by weight. (Photo: GE)

Already an ENERGY STAR® and Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program partner, GE is the first and only appliance manufacturer to partner collectively on all four of these environmental-impact initiatives.

“Customers care about the environmental impact of the products they purchase, and at GE, we’re committed to reducing that impact,” said Mark Shirkness, general manager, distribution services, GE Appliances. “By participating in these four programs, we have made a voluntary commitment to both the EPA and our customers to report how we have improved performance on a variety of environmental metrics.”

Wise About Waste: Today, 70 percent of consumers want all or part of their appliances recycled, and 82 percent will go out of their way to purchase from a manufacturer that recycles.

Partnering with the RAD and WasteWise Programs, GE has made a commitment to significantly reduce the landfill waste of appliance disposal. Through GE’s agreement with the Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA) (Nasdaq: ARCI) involving the Philadelphia-based ARCA Advanced Processing (AAP) recycling center, GE and ARCA have already reduced the landfill waste of appliances processed at AAP by approximately 318,000 pounds monthly – which is estimated to be more than 3.8 million pounds annually. See the September 2011 announcement.

Waste reductions will come from:

  • Processing refrigerator insulating foam and plastic through the UNTHA Recycling Technology (URT) system, which helps reduce landfill waste of a refrigerator by 85 percent by weight – or from 55 pounds to less than eight pounds of waste per refrigerator;
  • The recovery of multiple appliance product materials that were previously landfilled, including plastics, circuit boards, glass, pelletized foam, and more. Since April 2011, AAP has diverted 2.3 million pounds of plastics for recycling.

In addition to reporting on the Philadelphia location as part of the WasteWise and RAD programs, GE will report waste-reduction and recycling efforts for its Appliance Park manufacturing facility in Louisville, Ky., and the company’s refrigerator manufacturing plant in Bloomington, Ind. Teams are focused on determining uses for landfill waste, including plastics and glass, and are actively developing processes to track and recover such materials.

Smarter Delivery: On top of reducing landfill waste, GE Appliances is also committed to more sustainable transportation when moving appliances from manufacturing operations to retailers and consumers.

Of the approximate 144 million miles that GE’s inbound appliance parts and appliances traveled in the U.S. annually in 2010, 80 percent of those miles were with EPA SmartWay® carrier partners, which are distinguished by their measured commitment to environmental performance and fuel efficiency. Because SmartWay® carriers’ performance is ranked and publicized, they are subject to competitive pressures to continuously improve their metrics.

A Corporate Commitment to the Environment: GE’s partnership with four individual EPA programs is consistent with the company’s ecomaginationSM initiative to deploy solutions for today’s energy and environmental challenges.

“EPA’s voluntary programs are strengthening the economy while giving American families more choices each day to bring cleaner, more sustainable, money-saving products into their homes,” said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We urge companies across the country to follow GE’s lead in joining EPA voluntary programs.”

A long-time ENERGY STAR® partner, GE partnered with RAD in 2011 and SmartWay® and WasteWise in 2012.

GE Appliances considers the full spectrum of environmental metrics in the products it manufactures, from the manufacturing of refrigerators with more environmentally sustainable insulating material, to more responsible end-of-life disposal. GE offers hundreds of ENERGY STAR®-qualified appliance models, which deliver efficiency and cost savings to customers over product life. GE also ensures sustainable and efficient transportation to support the manufacturing and delivery operations.

About GE Appliances

GE Appliances is at the forefront of building innovative, energy-efficient appliances that improve people’s lives. GE Appliances’ products include refrigerators, freezers, cooking products, dishwashers, washers, dryers, air conditioners, water filtration systems and water heaters. General Electric (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter to build a world that works better. For more information on GE Appliances, visit http://www.ge.com/appliances.

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