DTE Energy customers turn in over 1,000 old refrigerators

DTE Energy began dismantling more than 1,000 old refrigerators turned in by customers of its Detroit Edison subsidiary as part of a “cash for clunkers” appliance recycling program the company launched in June. The appliances are being dismantled at a newly opened recycling plant in Livonia, Michigan.

DTE Energy’s appliance recycling program offers Detroit Edison customers $50 for their older model refrigerators and freezers and hauls them away for free.

Since 2001, federal standards require new refrigerators and freezers to consume less energy. Current models use about 450 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually, compared to older units that use up to 1,500 kWh per year.

Located in Livonia, the new recycling plant is expected to recycle more than 50,000 old, working refrigerators and freezers over the next three years – 30,000 of which will come from DTE Energy customers. The plant, which will create 20 new Michigan green jobs, is owned and operated by JACO Environmental, the company contracted to recycle the appliances. JACO Environmental will demanufacture the refrigerators using a mechanized process that prevents toxic oils, mercury and greenhouse gasses from escaping. Approximately 95 percent of each appliance will be recycled, keeping that material out of landfills.

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 with an inside measurement of 10 cubic feet or more.