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Appliances get their own recycled ‘Clunkers’ programs

United States – Older energy-intensive refrigerators and freezers qualify for recycling and cash from more than 60 utilities across the United States, and consumers could get rebates of US$ 50 to US$ 200 for new, more energy-efficient appliances later this year in a federal government program.
The U.S. Department of Energy is providing states with US$ 300 million as part of President Obama’s US$ 787 billion stimulus plan. Consumers taking advantage of the rebate program won’t need to trade in their old refrigerators to get the benefit of buying a new one with an Energy Star seal designating it as efficient. Utilities in many US states offer to pick up and recycle old refrigerators and freezers and give the customer a rebate of up to US$ 50. ‘It’s an excellent win-win-win situation,’ says John Hargrove of NV Energy in Nevada, which has had a refrigerator-recycling program for five years. ‘There are environmental benefits, energy-efficiency benefits, and benefits for customers who have a hard time dealing with that old refrigerator holding a six-pack of water in the garage.’ In Michigan, where 2008 energy legislation required utilities to cut electricity production by 5% a year, the program is exceeding expectations. Detroit Edison collected more than 3300 appliances since starting the recycling program at the end of June. It offers US$ 50 per refrigerator or freezer and US$ 20 for old window air-conditioner units. ‘Today’s appliances consume three times less than old appliances,’ says Detroit Edison president Steven Kurmas. ‘We’re hoping to get rid of 30,000 by 2011.’

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