Jaco recycles, shreds refrigerators into raw materials

Jaco Environmental, headquartered near Seattle, is an appliance recycler. The business helps households cut energy costs and utilities meet efficiency goals by removing inefficient refrigerators from the grid. The company then breaks down the old refrigerators into raw materials, 95 percent of which is recycled to make new products.

Partnering with utilities to help phase out energy-wasting appliances, Jaco has recycling facilities in 34 states. Jaco employs more than 520 people, with significant growth planned in the coming years.

At its facility in Stow, Ohio, Jaco disassembles between 100 and 150 refrigerators a day, said facility manager Tom Steinheiser. Using cutting-edge shredding technology, Jaco reduces refrigerators down to material parts in a few hours. The materials Jaco ends up with include iron, copper, aluminum, and plastic – all valuable commodities – as well as foam, oil, refrigerant, and chlorofluorocarbon, or CFC, which is a potent, ozone-depleting greenhouse gas.

In addition to processing whole refrigerators, Jaco’s Stow location has a shredder capable of recycling an additional 150 to 200 refrigerators that have gone through the first stage of dismantling at one of its other U.S. facilities.

As reported in M Live, Jaco in September 2013 hauled off a 20-year-old refirigerator owned by Grand Rapids, Mich., resident Cheryl Corson. The old fridge fed three kids but used a lot of energy.

“I’ve been waiting for it to die and it just wouldn’t die,” Corson told M Live. “I’m hoping the new one will use a little less energy.”

Corson’s refrigerator was the 75,000th refrigerator removed as part of Consumers Energy’s appliance recycling program.

— Environmental Entrepreneurs

Photo credit: Lauren Kubiak