Md. Potomac Edison customers reminded of refrigerator recycling program

August 28, 2013|By CALEB CALHOUN |
  • Keith Yanchek, left, and Ken Sproat of JACO Environmental tear down a refrigerator to show the process of how they recycle old refrigerators.
By Yvette May, Staff Photographer

To remind Maryland Potomac Edison customers of a program that provides rebates for old refrigerators, freezers and room air conditioners, utility and JACO Environmental representatives “de-manufactured” an old refrigerator on Wednesday to show how its parts are recycled.

Professionals from JACO broke down part of the refrigerator in a demonstration in Hagerstown, tearing apart its walls, taking out the foam on the inside and ripping apart the bottom.

“Glass, plastic and metal all go out to recycle streams, and we work real hard to make sure they’re going out into recycle streams, where they’re getting reused,” JACO Environmental Senior Program Manger Sam Sirkin said.

“The metal may come back as a rebar in a bridge or in the street; the glass sometimes is reused as additive in potting soil or even aggregate in concrete or in countertops; and the plastic could come back as a computer or cellphone,” he said


The program provides Potomac Edison customers in Maryland with a $50 rebate to return old refrigerators and freezers that are environmentally inefficient, and $25 for room air conditioners.

Interested customers can make an appointment for one of the appliances to be taken away. Workers from JACO Environmental, which implements the program, will then go to a customer’s home to take the appliance and recycle or capture the parts.

Todd Meyers, a spokesman for Potomac Edison, said that the program supports the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act, which requires  utilities and customers to save 15 percent of electricity used by 2015.

“This program gives people an opportunity to help control the size of their electric bill,” Meyers said.

“These old refrigerators may add $20 or more to your electric bill every month and may only be cooling a six-pack of soda.”

About 8,000 refrigerators have been collected since the program’s inception in 2009, and about 2,200 have been collected this year, Meyers said.

“Most of the time, these refrigerators are under-used, they’re just chugging away,” he said. “You forget about them, but believe me you’re electric meter’s not forgetting about them.”

About 95 percent of a refrigerator is recycled or captured.

Sirkin said that the program is a quadruple win.

“You save energy, you save money, you get a check, you get a free service, and we have a facility in Maryland that employs people, so there’s a jobs’ component to it as well,” he said. “There’s an environmental benefit to capturing and reusing things like the plastic and glass that would otherwise go to a landfill.”

Customers interested in the program can make an appointment to have their appliance taken away by going to or calling 877-270-3521.

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