PSE team wins “Recycle My Old Fridge” art contest

BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON - Puget Sound Energy project team members have turned a 1952 refrigerator door into an award-winning work of art – and a reminder that we can all help the environment and save energy by recycling old, inefficient appliances.

The PSE team was honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., with an award from the U.S. Department of Energy & ENERGY STAR’s “Recycle My Old Fridge” refrigerator art contest. PSE’s 1952 fridge door was recognized in the category of “The Art of Recycling: The Coolest Show in Town” at the ceremony held at the National Building Museum.

The door, which is decorated with a life-size image of a retro-styled housewife, flowers made from refrigerator motor parts and the banner “Time to Unplug” will remain on display at the museum indefinitely.

Sharon Kegley, market manager for Energy Efficiency Services for PSE, found the door on an informational tour through local refrigerator recycling organization, JACO Environmental. PSE and JACO are partners in a local refrigerator recycling program that offers a $30 rebate and free pick-up to PSE customers who contact JACO to decommission older refrigerators, which can use up to four times the energy of newer models.

“While investing in newer, more efficient appliances is a great way to reduce household energy use, throwing away an older, less energy efficient refrigerator is not a good long-term plan for the environment,” said Cal Shirley, vice president of Energy Efficiency Services for PSE. “Most people know not to throw away an old refrigerator, but don’t realize how much energy it continues to use when left on in their basement or garage.”

Over the course of its two-year partnership with JACO Environmental, PSE has helped customers recycle more than 6,000 refrigerators. Once a unit has been picked up from a customer’s home, JACO removes all the toxic materials (such as Freon), disassembles the shell and interior, and then sorts the materials by glass, metal, plastic, and insulation for reuse.

“We used parts from inside the refrigerator to drive home the message that almost all parts of the old units can be reused,” said Kegley. Other Energy Efficiency Services team members involved in creating the winning door were: Mary Carnes, program implementer, whose image graces the outside; Sandra Palmer, senior market analyst; Danny Grady, Powerful Choices facilitator, and Jane Howard, Powerful Choices facilitator. All work at the utility’s Bellevue offices.



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