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1 Millionth Refrigerator Recycled

2012 May 25
Gene Rodrigues, Southern California Edison

Gene Rodrigues, Southern California Edison

By: Gene Rodrigues, Southern California Edison

Yesterday was a huge milestone for Southern California Edison (SCE) — we recycled our 1 millionth refrigerator. A million refrigerators is enough to fill a football stadium.

While we’d like to take all the credit, we can’t. The thanks goes first to our customers, who led the nation in saving energy through our programs and services. With the help of our partners at EPA’s ENERGY STAR and Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) programs, SCE has been able to deliver our customers the education and resources they need to make a difference in our environment by recycling their old refrigerators. More than 60 million refrigerators in this country are more than 10 years old and cost consumers $4.4 billion a year in energy costs. By properly recycling their old refrigerator and replacing it with a new refrigerator that has earned the ENERGY STAR, our customers can save between $200 and $1,100, and prevent 4,000 to 26,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions over the product’s lifetime.

Our Appliance Recycling Program has saved customers 7.9 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity since 1994.

How do you wrap your mind around 7.9 billion kilowatt-hours? It’s the equivalent of:

  • Avoiding the emissions equal to nearly 1.1 million cars for a year
  • Planting 140 million trees
  • Saving enough energy to power 13.5 million California homes for a month, or 1.1 million California homes for a year.
  • Enough energy to save customers $1 billion dollars on their electricity bills.

In celebrating this milestone, SCE must also give credit to the California Public Utilities Commission and the Natural Resources Defense Council, both forward-thinking agencies that provide incredible support for policies that encourage energy efficiency. And of course, without the Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCA), and our other recycling partners, a million refrigerators could be disposed improperly, creating extensive damage to the environment.

ARCA began operations in California in 1993 as part of the Rebuild Los Angeles initiative following the civil unrest that occurred at that time. Since then, SCE’s recycling program provided nearly 75 percent of this facility’s business, with 63 full-time employees dedicated to the SCE work – with a 25 percent increase in staff during the busy summer months. For many of these employees, it’s the first time they’ve worked for a company that offered healthcare, educational and vacation benefits.

And finally, thank you to our customers and to utility customers across the nation who understand that the cleanest, cheapest kilowatt hour is the one you never use.

Gene Rodrigues is the Director of  Energy Efficiency and Solar programs at Southern California Edison. He has been with the company for over 22 years.  For more information on SCE’s refrigerator recycling program, click here.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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One Response leave one →
  1. July 15, 2012

    Credit where credit is due. This is a great effort, and also shows great wisdom in both the sustainability of the project, and the sustainability achieved. The more recognition that successful recycling enterprises have, the greater the competition that rise, this could have potential positive or negative consequences. Hopefully as more organisations join, the standards will stay the same, and there is enough space in the market, to offer benefits to the consumers, the business and the environment.

    Being involved involved in fluorescent light disposal in Australia I am always looking at the models that have been implemented in various parts of the world, primarily in North America. I am hoping that in the next decade Australia will catch up some ground on the North American and European standards of recycling. By implementing new infrastructure and incorporating sustainable business models, hopefully fluorescent light disposal will continue to be a successful enterprise.

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