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NYSEG joins National Grid in popular refrigerator recycling program

by jmaloni
Tue, May 10th 2011 02:35 pm

Customers are paid $30 for free pickup of old, energy-wasting second refrigerators and freezers

Western New York electricity customers now have an incentive and easy way to save up to $150 a year in electrical costs racked up by older, energy-wasting refrigerators. All they need to do is schedule a free pick up, and receive a $30 incentive reward in return.

Tonawanda resident Randall Rider recently took advantage of the program and offer when workers arrived to remove the elderly freezer from his garage.

"I can't believe it was so easy! I've wanted to get rid of that freezer for a while now and all I had to do was make a call," said Rider, who will also receive $30 for the pick-up.

National Grid is in its second year of sponsoring the refrigerator recycling program in upstate New York. Since its inception, the company has sponsored the removal of more than 8,700 units, saving customers an estimated $1.3 million yearly. The avoidance of carbon dioxide emissions as a result of recycling these units is equal to removing 17,400 cars from the road for a year.

This year, New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) and its sister utility, Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E), have launched a similar program in service areas through the state.

Both companies have extensive energy efficiency programs for residential and commercial customers.

Through this program, appliance recycler JACO Environmental removes the appliances from participating customers' homes at no charge, then safely dismantles and recycles the energy-guzzling appliance in an environmentally responsible manner. Typically, the units are kept as extra cold storage in garages or basements. But what many people don't realize is that older refrigerators and freezers require as much as three times more electricity to run than newer models built to higher energy efficiency standards. Having an older unit picked up for recycling can save people as much as $150 a year through lower energy bills.

"This is an easy way to instantly boost your home's energy efficiency and start saving money. The only work involved for electric customers is scheduling a time for their old refrigerator or freezer to be picked up at their home, and we pay a reward on top of it," said Dennis Elsenbeck, regional director for National Grid in Western New York.

For more information and to schedule a free pickup, National Grid and NYSEG customers can call 1-877-691-0021 (toll free) or visit their energy provider's website.

Since 2001, federal standards require new refrigerators and freezers to consume much less energy. Current models use about 450 kilowatt-hours (kwh) annually, compared to older units that can use, on average, 1,500 kwh per year.

Refrigerators and stand-alone freezers are eligible for the recycling program, which covers the removal of up to two units per household. Appliances to be recycled must be in working order with an inside measurement of 10 cubic feet or more.

The units are transported to a de-manufacturing and recycling facility in Syracuse. There, JACO removes toxins such as mercury and oils that poison the environment when refrigerators and freezers are recklessly discarded. Instead, JACO's process converts 95 percent of each appliance into recyclable metals, glass and plastics. Foam insulation is safely incinerated to generate electricity, returning back to the grid some of the energy the old appliances wasted over the years.

"By recycling an older, extra refrigerator or freezer, people benefit their own bottom line and benefit the environment at the same time," said Michael Dunham of JACO Environmental.

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