LG appliance recycling
The LG Chilseo Recycling Center processes end-of-life refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners.
Photo courtesy of LG.

LG reports steady appliance recycling activity

Company says its recycling plant in South Korea handles 550,000 end-of-life appliances per year.

September 1, 2021

LG Electronics says it is continuing to invest in what it calls a state-of-the-art recycling facility in Hamyang County, South Korea. The LG Chilseo Recycling Center, says the firm, collects a broad range of discarded household appliances and then undertakes disassembling, crushing and screening to create secondary commodities that can be reused in new LG appliances, “beginning their life cycle again.”

Every year, the center recycles up to 550,000 appliances, including refrigerators, washing machines and air conditioners. LG says the process starts with skilled technicians and includes “tried-and-true” processes and specialized equipment that helps harvest aluminum, copper, steel and plastic, destined for end markets tied to the manufacturing of new LG home appliances.

Offering an overview of the plant, LG says the plant’s initial stage includes disassembly, shredding and sorting. 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, adds the firm.

Appliance frames are then shredded and sorted into steel, copper, plastic, aluminum and any other fractions “through a variety of methods using vibration, gravity, magnets and air.”

Shredded plastics are 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,” states LG.

From the plastics facility, 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.

Those plastic components are then moved to LG’s plant in Changwon, South Korea, the company’s “main home appliance manufacturing facility” 30 kilometers (nearly 19 miles. There, the components become part of a new LG refrigerator as shrouds, ducts and handles, among other components.

The appliance maker states, “One of the best ways to preserve the Earth’s resources and reduce our footprint is through creating a virtuous cycle where we recycle, reuse and repurpose what we already have. From eco-conscious manufacturing and product design to responsible recycling and waste management and development of sustainable technologies, LG continues its journey to ensure a better tomorrow.”