LG Recycling Center: more than half a million appliances recycled per year

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Helping to create a virtuous cycle by improving recycling efficiency and reducing the environmental impact from products that have reached the end of their lifespan, LG Electronics is investing in a state-of-the-art recycling facility in its home country. Located in Hamyang County, South Korea, the LG Recycling Center collects a broad range of discarded household appliances which after disassembling, crushing and screening are reborn as useful materials that will be reused in new appliances, beginning their lifecycle again. Every year, the center recycles more than half a million appliances, including refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners. “With its skilled technicians, tried-and-true processes and specialized equipment – the company explains – scrapped products are stripped of useful materials such as aluminum, copper, steel and of course plastic, to be used again in new LG home appliances. Once the appliances have been collected at the Chilseo Recycling Center, workers manually remove both mechanical and detachable plastic components such as compressors, drawers and shelving. Any remaining refrigerant is safely extracted using a gas recovery device. The patented system – the first of its kind – automates the entire removal process, which greatly increases efficiency and employee safety. Appliance frames are then crushed and then sorted into iron, copper, plastic, aluminum, etc., through a variety of methods using vibration, gravity, magnets and air. Crushed plastic harvested from the disassembled products is moved to another facility and sorted another time using water before being melted, cooled and cut into small pellets of uniform size. With their consistent shape, scale and composition, the pellets are perfect for use in the manufacturing of plastic parts and goods, offering dual benefits of reducing both waste and effort required to create new products. Next, the pellets are transferred to another site where they are melted down, poured into molds and transformed into plastic components for new LG refrigerator models. The plastic components are then moved to LG’s Changwon plant, the company’s main home appliance manufacturing facility 30 kilometers away to be repurposed in LG refrigerators as shrouds, ducts and handles, among other components. And, of course, the reborn parts all meet the strict high quality standards LG expects from all its components”.

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