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Community Voice

That old refrigerator in the garage is an energy hog, recycle it

Anne Dunlap-Kahren’s old refrigerator was in her kitchen for 13 years. She bought a new one and relegated the old one to a place where a lot of old refrigerators go, the garage.

The problem is these older refrigerators use more household energy than anything else in the home. They use as much as three times the energy of newer models, and can cost up to an additional $125 per year to run.

When Anne heard about SMUD’s Refrigerator Recycling program, she called to make an appointment. Within a few days, JACO Environmental, a SMUD recycling contractor, was at her door to pick up the old one and give her a $35 check for it.

By recycling, Anne is saving money, energy and the environment. “For me, this made total sense,” said Anne. “It was time for a new refrigerator. SMUD gave me $35 and we hear so much about reusing and recycling these days, I don’t have to worry about throwing the old one away in a landfill.”

JACO does the heavy lifting. It deconstructs the old fridge by cutting its power cord and rubber gasket seal, disabling the thermostat and marks the unit with an “X” so it can’t be resold, and hauls it away. JACO then removes all potentially hazardous materials and recycles 95 percent of the remaining unit for other post-recycling products.

“The metal parts can be recycled into rebar for road construction, the plastic can be used in new computers and cell phones, the tempered glass can be used as an aggregate in other materials,” said JACO’s Michael Dunlap. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

The older refrigerator picked up at Anne Dunlap-Kahren’s home pushed SMUD’s refrigerator and freezer recycling program past the 40,000 mark since the program’s inception 10 years ago. Recycling these refrigerators saves the amount of energy used to power 6,000 homes for a year.

It’s easy to recycle your old fridge if you are a residential SMUD customer. Simply contact JACO Environmental at (800) 299-7573 to schedule an appointment. You get a check for $35, save some money on your electric bill, and get to feel good for doing the environment a favor.

For more information on SMUD’s Refrigerator Recycling Program, click here.

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