In a culture that cherishes youth, the refrigerator recycling program from Met-Ed, Penelec, Penn Power and West Penn Power, FirstEnergy's Pennsylvania utilities, is hunting for the oldest functioning refrigerator in Pennsylvania.
A joint effort with utilities state-wide, the Oldest Fridge Contest began in April and has collected more than 7,000 refrigerators to date. Owners of old, inefficient refrigerators and freezers can save up to $150 a year in energy costs and receive a $50 incentive by choosing to recycle their old fridge. The goal of the contest is to remove as many older, inefficient fridges from the electric grid as possible.
"We'll reveal the ages of the refrigerators we've collected when the contest ends," said Doug Elliott, president of Pennsylvania operations for FirstEnergy. "We're sure there are many more ancient refrigerators still running out there."
Residents who recycle their old fridge between now and the end of August receive a $50 incentive, and are automatically entered for a chance to win a prize of $250 from their utility company. The owner of the oldest fridge recycled by the program will receive a $1,000 Sears gift card to use toward the purchase of any Energy Star
® certified product. The winner of the contest will be announced in September.
To participate, customers of FirstEnergy's Pennsylvania utilities can schedule a refrigerator or freezer pickup at no cost by calling 1-877-270-3521, or by visiting energysavePA.com. The program is limited to removal of two units per household. Appliances to be recycled must be in working order and between 10 and 30 cubic feet, using inside measurements.
Typically, appliances recycled through the program are second refrigerators used for extra storage in garages and basements. However, the convenience of extra cold storage comes at a steep price, especially during the hot summer months when energy use is at its peak. Refrigerators manufactured before 1990 can use three times more electricity than new appliances, and removing these older, inefficient appliances can save customers up to $150 each year.
Units picked up through the program are transported to an appliance recycling facility operated by JACO Environmental. JACO safely removes hazardous waste and reclaims 95 percent of the appliance for reuse in manufacturing new products. Even the foam insulation is safely incinerated to generate electricity.