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Giving up old fridges, freezers will pay off for N.J. residents
by Ryan Hutchins/ For the Star-Ledger
Monday July 27, 2009, 7:17 PM
A statewide energy program begins Wednesday that will pay New Jersey residents to ditch their old refrigerators and freezers. It will also create 20 green-industry jobs in East Brunswick.
State officials say the effort, part of New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program, will reduce energy use and carbon dioxide emissions from older appliances, which will be taken apart and recycled at a plant in East Brunswick.
“Recycling an old refrigerator or freezer can reduce a household’s annual energy bill by up to $150 and carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to removing two cars from the road,” Jeanne M. Fox, president of the state’s Board of Public Utilities, said in a statement. “Energy efficiency programs can also help avoid the need for future energy infrastructure, which is paid for by ratepayers.”
Since the board, which runs the Clean Energy Program, expects recycling plant operator JACO Environmental to process 20,000 units in the first year, the effort could reduce carbon dioxide levels equivalent to what 40,000 cars produce.
That’s assuming all the units are in use, and it’s the reason they must be operable to qualify for the program. The idea, the board says, is that the old fridges and freezers are replaced by new, energy efficient ones.
The initiative directly benefits consumers with old refrigerators and freezers, according to the board. Residents can have their equipment hauled away at no cost, plus get $30 as an incentive for giving up old units.
What happens after the big, white boxes are taken away will be demonstrated tomorrow morning in East Brunswick facility, where the units will be broken down and recycled.
Instead of piling up in dumps or scrap yards, workers will take the units to the Edgeboro Road facility where 95 percent of the parts will be recycled, according to the utility board.
“This mechanized process prevents toxic oils, mercury and greenhouse gases from escaping into the environment,” the board said in a statement.
The first refrigerator will roll down the conveyor belt tomorrow during an unveiling ceremony. The effort is being run by JACO Environmental, a West Coast-based group responsible for recycling 400,0000 units per year.
“Not only will the program make New Jersey more energy efficient and improve our environment, it will also create 20 new jobs in central New Jersey — the ‘green’ jobs that Governor Corzine envisioned in his Energy Master Plan,” said Fox.
Funding for the initiative comes from the Clean Energy Program, which collects an average of $25-$30 per year from each private utility company customer. The money is used to make New Jersey more energy efficient.
To schedule the pick up of a refrigerator or freezer for recycling, New Jersey residents can call 877-270-3520 or visit www.NJCleanEnergy.com.
Ryan Hutchins is a reporter for the New Jersey Local News Service. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (908) 243-6236.