EPA Celebrates the ‘Crushing’ of One Million Working Refrigerators

By Elizabeth Harrington | May 29, 2012 | 5:20 PM EDT

(Photo: Adrian and Janet Quantock/Wikimedia Commons)

(CNSNews.com) – In a move that recalls the government venture that pulverized 700,000 used cars under the “cash for clunkers” program, the Environmental Protection Agency is now praising a company for “crushing its 1 millionth refrigerator.”

EPA hailed Southern California Edison (SCE), a partner in its Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program, for reaching the “national conservation milestone.”

It took the company 18 years to do so, offering free pick up, a $35 incentive, and purported electricity savings of $180 for customers with old, yet working, refrigerators.  (“Actual savings may vary,” cautions the fine print.)

“After many years of recycling fridges and freezers for households in our region, we’ve hit the 1 million mark – and we’re the first utility to do so,” SCE said. “We’re proud of this milestone and even more proud of the savings for local families.”

The company, one of America’s largest electric utilities, has produced a promotional video showing the appliances being smashed into an unrecognizable mass of metal.

The EPA claims, “SCE’s recycling efforts have avoided emissions of more than 177,000 pounds of substances that harm the ozone layer, and about 3.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of removing 760,000 cars from the road.”

Another government enterprise that took 700,000 cars off the road was 2009’s Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) program, better known as “cash for clunkers.” CARS gave consumers a $3,500 to $4,500 tax credit towards purchasing a new fuel-efficient car in place of a thirstier trade-in.

The program destroyed 690,114 viable used cars, with each treated with liquid glass to disable its engine before being shredded into scrap metal, most of which would end up in China, the biggest consumer of U.S. scrap.

As with the cars, the EPA discourages the resale of older refrigerators which it says harm the environment. “Without programs such as this one,” the department states, “old refrigerators and freezers may be disposed in unsafe, environmentally unfriendly ways, or sold secondhand (in Southern California, for example, an old inefficient refrigerator can waste up to $180 a year in electricity costs).”

SCE is one of 47 partners in the EPA’s RAD program, which dates back to 2006.  Partners urge “the removal of inefficient refrigerators and freezers, typically by offering appliance owners a financial incentive for the collection of their old units, and/or by providing rebates toward the purchase of new ENERGY STAR qualified units.”

SCE is now giving away a free “Energy Star-qualified” refrigerator, to “thank its customers for reaching this conservation milestone.”

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