Old Refrigerators are the Problem
Chances are, if a residential consumer’s refrigerator was produced before the early 1990s, it’s doing a poor job of keeping food cold, but an excellent job of inflating electricity bills. In fact, not only do older refrigerators operate at half the efficiency of newer models, but they also contain ozone-depleting insulation and refrigerants that are now banned internationally. Yet these old beasts continue to chug away in basements and garages, perpetually keeping a few dollars worth of soda and beer cold… at an operating cost of around $100 – $330 each year. Doesn’t make sense, does it?
Rebate and Recycling Programs are the Solution
MEEA's Refrigerator Rebate and Recycling Program solves the problem of inefficient refrigeration through a proven program model that has delivered substantial energy savings for utilities nationwide. Firstly, we offer a bounty to consumers to turn in their old refrigerators, giving them a financial incentive to get old, energy-intensive fridges off the electrical grid permanently. Furthermore, the refrigerators are picked up and taken away by program field staff. This is done at the customer’s convenience, and at no charge. These appliances are then taken to a recycling facility, where their components and materials are recycled, and hazardous substances are disposed of according to EPA guidelines.
Consumers get rid of their old refrigerators, utility sponsors reduce demand, and the old fridges are recycled in a responsible manner. That’s a win for the customer, the utility, and the environment!
MEEA ran a pilot in 2002 and implemented small three- to five-month programs in Illinois and Missouri during the late summer of 2003 and the winter of 2004-05. Each program had a slightly different design and evolved due to the area the program ran in as well as the sponsors' goals. The key to this program is to tie together both the recycling and the consumer incentive to maximize the consumer and utility benefit of the program. MEEA has the experience and the resources to navigate the complicated nature of the program. Over three years, in MEEA's first implementation of this program, more than 7,000 refrigerators were recycled resulting in 9.6 million kWh savings annually.
For questions on our current refrigerator recycling program please contact Michael Hairston at
email@example.com or 312.784.7249.
Impacts of Program
In the 2002 pilot program, 2,721 units were replaced, saving 11.9 million kWh over the lifetime of the appliances.
In the 2003 program, 4,165 units were replaced, saving 42.8 million kWh over the lifetime of the appliances.
In the 2004/2005 programs, 124 units were replaced, saving 1.3 million kWh over the lifetime of the appliances. Program Final Report
In total, 7,010 units were replaced, saving 56.0 million kWh over the lifetime of the appliances.
Renewed Activity in 2010-2011
MEEA is thrilled to continue its efforts in appliance energy efficiency programs through a new refrigerator recycling program in Indiana that launched on March 1, 2010. This pilot effort has been made possible through the sponsorship of Hoosier Energy and the Wabash Valley Power Association. Between these two sponsors, the program has an overall goal of 4,175 units in its first year.
Given the significant impact of this energy efficiency appliance program, and the success that utilities around the country have had with appliance recycling programs, MEEA would love to see this program continue and expand. For the continued success of the program, we are currently looking for sponsors who can provide both multi-year commitments and healthy budgets. If you are interested in sponsoring this program, please email Aimee Skrzekut, Director of Programs.