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From the January/February issue of Scrap

A Graveyard for Dead Appliances

New Orleans, renowned for its historic graveyards, has become a graveyard itself for thousands of refrigerators destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. More than 6,000 dead appliances arrive each day to be recycled at a 20-acre section of the Gentilly landfill site on the cityॡst side. The site contains nothing but refrigerators and freezers with spoiling food inside as far as the eye can seethis is only one of several sites recovering such hurricane-related scrap in New Orleans.

At the Gentilly site, the white goods await processing by Environmental Recycling Inc., a Lexington, Ky.-based recycler that has been hired to recycle metal removed from the disaster area.

The process works like this: The City of New Orleans collects the end-of-life appliances and hauls them to the landfill site. There, workers sort and line up the machines. Next, any Freon is removed by experts and all food contents are purged. A loader pushes the appliances into a pile, then Environmental Recycling loads them into the three Al-jon balers it operates at the site. Each baler can produce 200 1,600-pound bales a day, with all three machines processing 480 tons of scrap daily. These bales are then shipped to Southern Scrap Material Co. L.L.C., which hired Environmental Recycling as a subcontractor to process the fridge scrap.

This recycling effort will have three stages, the company says, with the first and current stage focusing on appliances set at the curb. The second phase will recover appliance left inside homes, then the city will begin related demolition work. All three phases could take another one to two years. In the end, Environmental Recycling says it will have recycled about 75 percent of the scrapped appliances in New Orleans.