City Light Customers Recycle 8,000TH Fridge

Seattle City Light customers recycled their 8,000th old, energy wasting fridge today.

Barbara Orcutt's freezer is recycled at JACO Environmental.

Barbara Orcutt waved goodbye to the old, white Whirlpool freezer in her Laurelhurst basement Wednesday and sent it to JACO Environmental where today it became the 8,000th appliance recycled by Seattle City Light’s refrigerator recycling program.

Orcutt didn’t even know how old her freezer was.

“It was old when we moved in here 28 years ago,” she said. “I know it was using a lot of electricity and I needed to get rid of it.”

When Orcutt spotted a bill insert about the recycling program, she liked the idea of making sure the freezer wasn’t sold or given to someone else. “I know that it needed to be recycled.”

Removing 8,000 old refrigerators and freezers, reduces energy consumption by 7.2 million kilowatt-hours a year, which is enough to power 800 Seattle homes.

“That’s more power than a typical wind turbine produces, which is what we mean when we say Seattle City Light is building a conservation power plant one customer at a time,” Conservation Resources Director Glenn Atwood said.

JACO took Orcutt’s freezer to the company’s warehouse in Everett and stripped it down to start the process for a second life as some other product.

City Light has contracted with JACO since 2008 to remove the appliances from participating customers’ homes at no charge and then safely dismantle and recycle the energy-guzzlers in an environmentally responsible manner. JACO’s process returns all but 5 percent of the materials from old refrigerators and freezers back into the manufacturing stream. Even the foam insulation is safely incinerated through a method that provides energy back to the grid. 

“The process employed by JACO is the safest possible method of neutralizing these older appliances as environmental threats, and then recycling them to conserve our nation’s resources,” said JACO’s Director of Energy and Environmental Programs Michael Dunham.  “Removing and recycling 8,000 old refrigerator and freezers from the grid, is equivalent to eliminating the CO2 emissions of approximately 16,000 cars annually.”

If you have a secondary refrigerator or freezer in your basement or garage, Seattle City Light will pick it up and give you a $30 reward.  Call 206-233-COLD or visit seattle.gov/refrigerator to learn details and schedule the haul-away of your old appliance.

While you’re at it, you can share your story for a chance at a $500 prize in our Monsters in the Basement Video Contest. Visit http://monstersinthebasement.strutta.com/ for details.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States.  It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents.  City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.