TRENTON – The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) marked the second year of its refrigerator and freezer recycling program by hosting a group of fourth and fifth graders from a local YMCA summer program on a tour of a de-manufacturing plant. The facility has processed more than 25,000 old, energy-wasting units since its July 2009 opening.
The program, which is part of New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program™ (NJCEP), pays $50 for old refrigerators and freezers that can waste up to $150 a year in energy costs. Older refrigerators and freezers consume far more electricity than newer models built to higher energy-efficiency standards.
JACO Environmental, which operates the plant for NJCEP, invited students from Raritan Valley YMCA to learn more about the semi-roboticized plant, where refrigerators and freezers are disassembled. The students learned that recycling goes well beyond the typical household items such as paper, glass and aluminum. They saw for themselves how roughly 95 percent of each refrigerator and freezer is recycled and end up in products as diverse as mobile phones, construction rebar, and aggregate for road surfacing. The students also learned why toxic materials such as mercury, coolant oils, and foam insulation are extracted and neutralized to protect the environment.
“You can get $50 and save up to three times as much in energy by parting with your old garage or basement fridge. We supply the labor that moves the units out of the home, and the transportation that takes them here to East Brunswick, all at no cost,” said New Jersey Board of Public Utilities President Lee A. Solomon.
To schedule pick-up of a refrigerator or freezer for recycling, customers of Atlantic City Electric, Jersey Central Power & Light, PSE&G, and Rockland Electric Company may call 1-877-270-3520 or visit NJCleanEnergy.com. Both refrigerators and freezers are eligible for the recycling program. 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.
“It’s easy for New Jersey residents to make a dramatic difference in their home’s energy efficiency by recycling their old fridge. Doing so contributes to a recycling process that reduces the demand for natural resources and lessens the burden on the power grid,” said Michael Dunham, director of Energy and Environmental Programs for JACO Environmental.
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