Efficiency Vermont launches refrigerator/freezer recycling initiative
Efficiency Vermont has officially launched a new Refrigerator/Freezer Recycling Program today. Through the program, Efficiency Vermont offers $30 incentive payments to Vermont electric utility customers in exchange for their old refrigerators and freezers. Efficiency Vermont will also haul away the old units for free.
According to a survey prepared by the Vermont Department of Public Service, Vermont would experience a healthy decrease in energy consumption if residents agreed to recycle their old refrigerators and freezers. Many Vermont homes still contain units manufactured before 1990, which consume three times more electricity than newer appliances. By removing an old, inefficient refrigerator, home owners could save up to $150 a year on their electric bills.
The survey found that 25 percent of Vermont homes have a second refrigerator, and 34 percent own second freezers. The Public Service Department also discovered that 30 percent of all refrigerators and one-half of all freezers within surveyed homes were 15 years or older. St. Albans residents were most likely to own a secondary, older refrigerator. North Chittenden residents were the most likely to keep a secondary freezer in their home.
“The removal of an extra, inefficient refrigerator or freezer will save money for homeowners by eliminating an electricity waster,” said Michael Russom, Retail Efficient Products Market Manager for Efficiency Vermont. “Plus, the proper recycling of the old units will help protect the environment,” he added.
JACO environmental, Efficiency Vermont's program vendor, removes the appliances from resident' homes at zero charge, then transports the old units to its recycling facility in Franklin, Mass. At the facility, the units are dismantled and disposed of in a environmentally safe manner. About 95 percent of each unit is recycled – including metals, plastic, oil, and foam insulation. The foam removed from the appliances contains chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases which can harmful effects on the ozone layer if improperly disposed of. JACO removes and bags the foam, incinerating it and using the heat generated from the incineration process to create new energy.
“There are many ways for people to reduce their energy consumption and impact on the environment. Recycling a refrigerator ranks near the top. It works for the planet, it works for your wallet and it works for conserving our precious resources,” said Michael Dunham, director of energy and environmental programs for JACO.
Since 2001, federal standards require new refrigerators and freezers to consume less energy. Current models use about 450 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually, compared to older units that burn through, on average, 1,500 kWh per year.
To schedule the pick up of an old refrigerator or freezer for recycling, Vermont electric utility customers can call 1-877-545-4113 or visit www.efficiencyvermont.com. Customers will receive a check for $30 four to six weeks after collection of the appliance.
The program is limited to the removal of two units per household and available to residential electric customers in certain areas of Vermont in 2009. It is planned to offer this service state-wide in 2010. Appliances to be recycled must be in working order with an inside measurement of 10 cubic feet or more. Residential customers should call or visit the web site to see if they are eligible.