Seattle City Light and other local utilities hit a milestone this week, by collectively recycling their 40,000th inefficient refrigerator. The total energy savings from the recycled units is enough to power 5,000 local homes. Snohomish County PUD and Tacoma Power also participate in the program through a partnership with JACO Environmental, a regional appliance recycler.
The utilities were joined today at JACO’s recycling plant by fifth graders from Everett’s Fairmount Elementary. The students, who gave up 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. You can watch a video of the recycling process here.
As part of their conservation efforts, City Light 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. Old refrigerators and freezers often become inefficient storage areas for a handful of items – a few cans of soda or some frozen dinners. The program offers customers a convenient way to safely recycle these units and save money 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, City Light customers can visit JACO Environmental and click on the “Rebate Pickup” tab, or call 1-877-577-0510. Customers who have applied for or received Seattle City Light’s $50 Energy Star refrigerator replacement rebate are not eligible for the recycling rebate. The rebates may not be combined.