Snohomish County Public Utility District and two other local utilities hit a milestone this week, by collectively recycling their 40,000th inefficient refrigerator. The PUD, Seattle City Light and Tacoma Power work together to take energy-wasting refrigerators out of circulation through a partnership with JACO Environmental, a national appliance recycler.
The utilities were joined at JACO’s recycling plant by fifth graders from Everett’s Fairmount Elementary. The students, who provided their school’s energy-wasting refrigerator for recycling, saw the 40,000th unit get disassembled and recycled. About 95 percent of each unit is processed and safely recycled, including metal, plastic, glass, polyurethane, mercury and other materials.
“The total energy savings from these recycled units is enough to power 5,000 local homes,” said PUD spokesperson Neil Neroutsos. “By working with customers to recycle these units we’re not only helping them save money on energy bills, we’re eliminating potentially harmful materials from garbage landfills. Many of these old refrigerators and freezers often sit for years in a garage to store only a handful of items – a few cans of soda or some frozen dinners.”
As part of their conservation efforts, the PUD and the other two utilities give customers $30 to give up their old energy-wasting refrigerators and freezers. It’s easy for customers to participate. JACO picks up units right from customers’ homes when they call for a collection. The program offers customers a convenient way to safely recycle these units and saves them up to $150 annually on their energy bills.
The safe disposal of refrigerators promises to slow, stop or even reverse ozone destruction. An average refrigerator contains about 10 pounds of foam insulation and one pound of CFC-11, equivalent to 2.3 tons of carbon dioxide. In the U.S. alone, 8 million refrigerators and freezers reach the end of their functional life span each year. Unless they are properly disposed of, foam and refrigerant from these old appliances release thousands of tons of ozone-depleting CFC-11 into the atmosphere each year.
For more details or to schedule an appliance pick-up, Snohomish County PUD customers can call toll-free 1-877-577-0510 or visit http://www.jacoinc.net/recycleNow.aspx. To help process any requests, customers should have their PUD account number available when placing the call.