In 1993, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) announced the establishment of the Appliance Recycling Information Center (ARIC). The mission of this center is to serve as the authoritative source of information on the environmentally responsible disposal and recycling of appliances and to undertake research into the recycling of major household appliances. ARIC focuses its activities in two main areas: Industry Coordination and Information and Education.
In 1994, the Major Appliance Resource Management Alliance (MARMA) was founded to expand on ARIC's mission of increasing the recycling rate of major home appliances. In 2010, MARMA was reconstituted as the North American Appliance Resource Management Alliance (NAARMA) to allow for the inclusion of portable and floor care divisions and broaden to include Canada. This Alliance is comprised of representatives from all sectors of the home appliance industry, steel recycling industry, plastics council, and scrap recyclers and serves as a forum to share ideas, discuss new technologies, advocate shared views, and promote sustainable recycling practices. In 2008, 90% of the steel in major appliances was recycled.
ARIC will develop and make available the most accurate technical data about appliance disposal and recycling, including advances in appliance recycling technology.
AHAM is also a co-sponsor with the Steel Recycling Institute of the Recycling Information Center, a toll free number that consumers can call for information on product recycling, including the recycling of major appliances. If your constituents have questions on recycling, they can call 1-800-YES-1-CAN to reach recorded messages and ask questions of live operators.
Major home appliances, often referred to collectively as "white goods," have long useful lives, typically 10 to 18 years. When they finally reach the end of these lives and are replaced, major appliances take on new value as an important manufacturing raw material- scrap steel for instance.
Did you know that discarded appliances are second to only old automobiles as a source of recycled metals, particularly steel? Using recycled steel has a positive impact on the environment, since it takes four times as much energy to manufacture steel from virgin ore as it does to make the same steel from recycled scrap.
Steel is the most abundant recyclable component in appliances, but not the only one. Major home appliances, or "white goods," also contain other metals like aluminum and copper, as well as recyclable plastics and CFC refrigerants.
In 2005 AHAM conducted two research projects with R. W. Beck and Weston Solutions to investigate major appliance and portable/floor care appliance recycling. These studies focus on material flow through the recycling infrastructure, material content and age of appliances at end of life.