Cradle to Cradle-Refrigerator
By: Lindsay Harley
How your product is made?
The exterior cabinet and door, the inner cabinet or liner, the insulation inserted between the two, the cooling system, the refrigerant, and the fixtures. The cabinet and door are made of aluminum or steel sheet metal that is sometimes prepainted. The metal is generally purchased in a coil that is either fed directly into the manufacturing process or cut to size and fed sheet by sheet. The inner cabinet is made of sheet metal, like the outer cabinet, or of plastic. The insulation that fills the gap between the inner and outer cabinets consists of fiberglass or polyfoam. The components of the cooling system which includes a compressor, condenser, coils, fins are made of aluminum, copper, or an alloy. The tubing is usually copper, its ability to bend without breaking. Freon remains the most commonly used refrigerant, and almost all of the large interior fixtures (door and cabinet liners) are made from vacuum-formed plastic; smaller fixtures (butter compartments, egg trays, salad crispers) are purchased as small plastic blanks or in pre-formed pieces.
How your product is used and for how long?
What happens to your product when it is no longer needed?
What is a way that your product can be reused or repurposed?
The average fridge weighs about 200 pounds, almost all of which can be recycled. About 125 pounds are steel, five pounds are aluminum and an additional three to five pounds are copper. All those metals are separated with the help of a motorized hack saw, ripped apart by hand, sent to metal scrap yards and shipped overseas.The enormous cardboard boxes and amounts of foam packaging used to protect the exteriors end up at Jaco as well. The cardboard is shipped overseas for recycling. The polystyrene is melted on site into a product 100 times as dense. It is sent to China, where it's often remade into photo frames and decking. The capacitors that keep the refrigerator motor running may contain PCBs, so they're removed and sent to a hazardous materials facility.