Compressor Recycling: Giving Old Parts

Compressors are vital components in refrigerators, air conditioners, and various other appliances. They last for many years, but eventually, they wear out and need replacing. Instead of throwing them away, compressor recycling offers a more environmentally friendly solution.

Why Recycle Compressors?

There are two main reasons to recycle compressors:

  • Valuable Materials: Compressors contain valuable metals, particularly copper, in their windings. Recycling recovers these metals for reuse, reducing reliance on virgin materials and mining.
  • Environmental Protection: Improper compressor disposal can release harmful substances like oil and refrigerants into the environment. Recycling facilities capture and dispose of these materials responsibly.

The Compressor Recycling Process

Compressor recycling involves several steps:

  1. Collection: Refrigerator and air conditioner recycling programs often collect compressors alongside the appliances themselves. Scrap metal yards may also accept compressors.
  2. Seperation: Workers separate the compressor from other appliance parts.
  3. Oil Removal: Any remaining oil is drained and recycled or disposed of properly.
  4. Gas Removal: Refrigerant gases are carefully extracted and processed for reuse or safe disposal.
  5. Disassembly: The compressor shell is typically broken open using specialized machinery.
  6. Material Separation: Internal components are separated. Steel from the casing is recycled, and the copper windings are extracted for further processing.

Benefits of Compressor Recycling

  • Reduced Environmental Impact: Recycling keeps harmful materials out of landfills and conserves natural resources.
  • Resource Recovery: Valuable metals are recovered for reuse in new products.
  • Energy Savings: Recycling uses less energy than extracting and processing virgin materials.

Finding a Compressor Recycler

  • Appliance Recycling Programs: Many communities offer appliance recycling programs that accept compressors.
  • Scrap Metal Yards: Some scrap metal yards accept compressors, though it’s wise to call ahead to confirm.
  • HVAC Contractors: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning contractors may have partnerships with compressor recycling facilities.