Did you know that your electric utility will give you a really cool rebate when you are ready to replace your old refrigerator or freezer?
For customers of Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. that means you can get $25 if you sign up for this service by calling 866-552-3755 or visiting their website (go to oru.com and search for “Appliance Recycling”).
When you have signed up, a truck will come to your residence at an assigned date and time to pick up your old appliance, which must be clean and still working. A few weeks later you will receive a gift card in the mail for participating.
This program, which is run by ARCA, Inc. for O&R and other utilities throughout New York State, has many outstanding environmental benefits:
First, an inefficient device is removed from the electric grid, thus reducing peak demand and thereby keeping costs and emissions down for everyone. According to the EPA, “On average, an old refrigerator uses about 33 percent more energy than a model that has earned the ENERGY STAR.”
However, if your refrigerator is more than 20 years old, the percentage of savings would be much higher.
Second, ARCA captures all of the refrigerants from the appliances they collect. Each refrigerator only has one-third pound of refrigerant, but those refrigerants are really intense greenhouse gases. On a 20-year time frame, capturing the refrigerants from just eight or nine typical refrigerators is the equivalent of taking the average American car off the road for a year.
Third, at ARCA’s state-of-the art facilities, they also capture the blowing agents from the insulating foams in the appliances. These chemicals are also intense greenhouse gases, and it’s rare for anyone to capture them. The remaining materials in the foams are turned into pellets for pellet stoves.
Fourth, the metals and plastics are all separated and sent to their own recycling streams.
These programs were paused throughout New York during the Covid-19 pandemic, but they are back up and running now in many regions, with enhanced procedures for maintaining distance between ARCA workers and residents. This work employs New Yorkers - another benefit of this program.
Finally, when you get a new refrigerator, be sure to get one that is free of the refrigerants that drive climate change. (Look on the eia-global.org website for this information.)
Hardly anyone reads their electricity bill inserts or emails from their utility, so not many of us are aware of this rebate for old refrigerators. Please pass the word so more people will take advantage of this program.
Comments and questions about this press release can be emailed to Sustainable Hudson Valley at email@example.com.