Americans Recycling 90% of Steel Appliances

Slide 7 of this Time profile, called Garbage is Good: Recycling in America, shows one utility that collected a thousand retired refrigerators during the “Cash for Appliances?? rebate program.  But, it doesn’t tell the full story of America’s commendable appliance recycling record.  The Steel Recycling Institute publishes annual recycling rates for multiple sectors, including home appliances.  You may be surprised to know that major home appliance recycling rates in the US rival other large steel using industries such as automobiles, and steel used in construction, topping 90%.  This means that 90% of appliances that reach the end of life in the United States enter the recycling stream.  Studies in Canada show that their recycling rate is the same or slightly higher. And the majority of these used appliances contain metals which have a ready market for recycled materials.    

Sustainability words iStock_Small Other material recycling rates are starting to edge higher too, as consumers become more aware, and the infrastructure is put in place to handle collection and recycling of such things as aluminum containers etc.  In fact, on June 15, the Aluminum Association reported that the rate of beverage can recycling grew to 58.1%.  Kudos to the aluminum industry for making great strides to improve recycling rates.  

So, every time you place something in the recycling bin at the street, call the city for pick-up of an appliance, or allow a retailer to take back an appliance when you purchase a new one, you are contributing to the overall health of our environment. 

More information on recycling of appliances can be found on AHAM’s website, or to find out how you can recycle an appliance by calling 1-800-YES-1-CAN or locate a recycling center online.

Pushing for Progress in the Realm of Smart Home Appliances

AHAM VP of Government Relations, Kevin Messner, contributed an article to the June 2011 issue of electroindustry, a monthly magazine published by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). The article Pushing for Progress inthe Realm of Smart Home Appliances, found on page 12 of the magazine, discusses how smart grid technology will allow consumers to automatically control energy use and costs with minimal effort and significant savings on electric bills.

The article notes the potential savings for consumers:

If just five percent of all residential energy usage could be shifted to off-peak hours, and if utility companies provide a 40 percent savings for off-peak time-of-use rates, across all households in the U.S. this would amount to a total savings of almost $900 million on residential electric bills.

Read the full article to understand AHAM's perspective on smart appliances, including concerns over consumer privacy and security.  To learn more, visit


AHAM Letter to the Editor Published in Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

A letter submitted by AHAM President Joe McGuire to the editor of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review was published today.  His response rebuts Tom Purcell's opinion column on clothes washer performance, much of which was extracted from an earlier Wall Street Journal column on the same topic.  

The text of the letter is posted below:

Truth comes out in wash

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Unfortunately, it appears that in his column "Needed: A washing machine that washes" (June 5 and, Tom Purcell regurgitated the bulk of an inaccurate Wall Street Journal article and details from an outdated Consumer Reports. His column is not supported by the facts such as the 2011 blog by Consumer Reports on the very same subject.

Clothes washers' gains in energy efficiency have not come at the expense of performance, particularly top loading clothes washers. Consumer Reports' deputy technical director was quoted in a recent Consumer Reports blog as saying: "As an organization that tests both performance and energy efficiency, Consumer Reports has seen product performance improve or remain at high levels, while energy efficiency standards have become increasingly stringent over the years. Washing machine performance has actually improved while dishwashers and refrigerators performance has remained at high levels."

The blog post also states "that back in 1996, Consumer Reports said 'any (top-loading) washing machine will get clothes clean,' whereas now, only some manage that feat. But that face-off compares apples to oranges: Our testing and scoring protocols for washers are significantly tougher than they were when Bill Clinton was in the White House."

Tom, have confidence in your next purchase — the appliance industry has a long history of making energy-efficient appliances that also offer optimal performance.

Joseph M. McGuire
Washington, D.C.
The writer is president of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (

Where Does Your Food Waste Go?


The average American family of four generates 36 pounds of food waste each week!  How you choose to dispose of this food waste can make a big impact on the environment.  Food waste that is taken to landfills decomposes and produces methane, an environmentally harmful greenhouse gas that is at least 21 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

A convenient and environmentally friendly alternative to dumping food waste in your trash can is to use your food waste disposer.  Watch the video above to see what happens to your food when it goes down the drain, and how it can be converted to renewable energy.

Read more about the benefits of food waste disposers at


All About Induction Cooking

AHAM has told you about the Five appliance that can help you save money, but did you know there is a type of cooking technology that can save you time, money and piece of mind?  Induction cooking is relatively new and unknown, but induction cooktops are gaining popularity among kitchen designers.

Induction cooking works by transferring heat directly to your pot or pan through an electric current.  The cooktop will only heat your pan when it is in direct contact with the surface.  For a complete explanation of how this cooktop works, read this helpful article in Kitchen and Bath Business: Understanding Induction.

So how can an induction cooktop save you time, money and piece of mind?

  • Induction allows you to cook your meal faster.  You will have more control over the heat, with the ability to adjust the temperature with more accuracy and bring water to a rapid boil in less than two minutes.  Clean up could not be easier with the flat, ceramic glass cooktop.  You can wipe it clean in seconds, and since it does not get hot, even spills and splatters are easy to clean.
  • The direct-to-vessel heating used in induction cooktops does not waste heat.  This makes this technology more sustainable than others, and you will save on your utility bills.
  • Finally, since the cooking heat stays contained to the pan, the surface of the cooktop will always remain cool.  Watch the video below from HGTV to see that you can lay your hand on the cooktop next to your pan with no worries!  Your kitchen will stay cooler and you will not need to be concerned about burns from touching the surface directly.


Space Saving Appliances: Small, Tidy and Mighty!

Pick up the June issue of Kitchen and Bath Ideas Magazine, or visit to read their “Small But Mighty?? article (pg. 27) on space saving appliances that make meal prep and cleanup easier!    Many of your kitchen appliances are available in smaller sizes or space saving configurations.   If you are redesigning your kitchen, the sky is the limit with configurations, sizes and styles to choose from.   Consider multiple dishwasher drawers in lieu of a tall tub configuration and as I stated in the magazine, try it before you buy it!  Bring your most-frequently used tray or serving dish with you and “bring measurements with you when you shop to ensure you buy the right-sized appliance- especially if it’s one that will be installed, such as a warming drawer.??  The article includes a buying and planning guide—so check it out before making your next purchase.


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