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LG's new technology promises to fix one of the biggest issues with refrigerators: 'It's no small experiment'

"[It] will likely play a major role in how LG might achieve its big sustainability goals."

"[It] will likely play a major role in how LG might achieve its big sustainability goals."

Photo Credit: LG

Recycling refrigerators isn't as simple as it sounds, but LG Electronics has introduced technology to help combat the problem.

As explained by Wired, Hamyang County in the South Gyeongsang Province of South Korea is home to LG's "innovative" Recycling Center that helps reduce waste by transforming products like refrigerators into reusable resources

While it's an effort that contributes to a circular economy, it was noted that "it's no small experiment."

The Recycling Center was built in 2001 and "currently recycles 550,000 discarded appliances per year into resources for new products and producing 20,000 [tons] of recycled materials annually," per Wired

Those appliances include washing machines, air conditioning units, and other smaller items like toasters and vacuum cleaners. However, the report stated that a whopping 250,000 refrigerators go through this facility and its sister centers each year.

The process begins with disassembling the appliance, with plastic components like vegetable drawers and shelves being removed first. The refrigerant gas is then extracted to facilitate the breakdown of the materials.

The fridge is placed on a conveyor belt to go through the "crusher," and various materials like plastic, iron, copper, aluminum, and urethane are sorted and separated for recycling. The plastic, in particular, is transported to two different facilities where it is melted down and eventually made into new plastic parts for LG refrigerators.

Finally, at LG Electronics' Changwon plant on the southern coast of South Korea, the "reborn" plastic goes through strict testing for quality control before being put to use in new refrigerator models. 

The process is repeated for the 160,000 LG washing machines, 50,000 air conditioners, and 100,000 small appliances that make their way through the Recycling Center each year, creating significant environmental benefits.

As Wired explained, "That's why the LG Recycling Center will likely play a major role in how LG might achieve its big sustainability goals, including reducing carbon emissions in the production phase by 50% (compared to 2017) and achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. LG also announced its plan to use more than half a million [tons] of recycled plastic by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the value chain."

Similarly, Whirlpool Corporation is also making strides in improving the sustainability of refrigerators by implementing new technology that helps boost insulation properties.

These efforts will go a long way toward reducing waste and positively impacting the environment.

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