7 On Your Side: Get rebate for recycling old fridge

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Did you know you can get a $50 rebate for recycling your old refrigerator? 7 On Your Side takes a look at how it works.

Old refrigerators are taking up space in people's garages and wasting precious energy.

Pamela Wellner of Energy Upgrade California says that's money out of your pocket. She said, "It costs you anywhere between $50-70 a year."

You can avoid paying those energy costs and get an additional $50 rebate from PG&E by contacting JACO Environmental to haul it away for free. He said, "It uses four times as much electricity as units made today."

By comparison, an Energy Star refrigerator will save you 10 percent in energy costs.

We took a look at what happens after JACO takes the refrigerator from your home. It tears the refrigerator apart and extracts the materials which are then recycled and reused.

Oils from refrigerants are cleaned and reused in other industrial equipment. The copper from the refrigerator is remade into wire and the aluminum into cans. The steel eventually becomes construction rebar and the tempered glass from your glass shelves is combined with other materials for making counter tops and even concrete. The foam winds up sealed in plastic bags. One bag represents about 10 lbs. of polyurethane foam.

"The potential for the foam and other contaminants from the refrigerator could potentially be released to the atmosphere," Nicole Liebelt from PG&E said.

Those harmful gases are released at a rate of 5 percent a year, or more than two tons of CO2 over its lifetime while in the landfill.

"That's like taking a car off the road for a whole year. These are very potent greenhouse gases," Dunham said.

So when your refrigerator gets old and looks bad, it may be time for you to save money by recycling it and earn some money doing it.

The goal this year is to give out nearly $1 million in rebates for recycled refrigerators. Rebates are also available for purchases of new Energy Star refrigerators.

Energy Star: Information on how to recycle your old refrigerator
Energy Upgrade California
JACO Environmental
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