All Whirlpool refrigerators manufactured in the U.S. are now being made with Solstice liquid blowing agent, a Honeywell product designed to apply spray foam insulation without a negative environmental impact.
Closed-cell spray foam used to insulate refrigerators is usually applied with propellants that contain chemicals like hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) with a high global warming potential (GWP). Whirlpool says Solstice has received approval by EPA to be used as a substitute for such chemicals, which in refrigerator insulation can have GWP scores around 1,030 meaning the release of the HFCs into the atmosphere would trap 1,030 times as much heat as the same amount of carbon dioxide. The GWP score for Solstice is just 1, matching the air exhaled from your lungs.
By switching to Solstice liquid blowing agent, Whirlpool hopes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking 400,000 cars off the road. "We are making products that perform better, but at the same time doing so with a smaller environmental footprint," says Ron Voglewede, global sustainability director for Whirlpool. Representatives from Honeywell add their expectations that use of Solstice across multiple industries will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and offer "safe, cost-effective and easily adopted" ways for manufacturers to develop their products.
Meanwhile, the company also announced this week a recycling program for its refrigerator water filters. Called Refresh & Recycle, consumers who take part in the program can purchase a $9 water filter recycling kit from niche recycling company g2 Revolution. The kit includes a postage-paid mailer and instruction on how to return their used water filters, which are then recycled into concrete aggregate. For their trouble, consumers also receive a 10% off coupon for their next Whirlpool-brand refrigerator water filter purchase (including Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, and Amana).
While Refresh & Recycle doesn't promise the same level of environmental impact as the use of Solstice, it does aim to reduce the number of water filters that end up in the landfill. Whirlpool recommends that consumers replace their refrigerator water filters every six months. With each spent filter weighing about a pound, the landfill potential is extensive.