Trends, Reports & Analyses

Where Does That Old Fridge Go?

By Michael W. Kahn | ECT Staff Writer Published: October 28th, 2013

David Frost interviewed Richard Nixon. Mike Douglas talked to John Lennon. Now add to the list of memorable interviews a guy named Alex chatting with a refrigerator.

It’s part of a new video showing electric cooperative members what happens once their old fridge is carted off for recycling.

“Our co-op’s members have recycled nearly 8,500 units since 2010,” said Kara Baker, marketing coordinator at Wabash Valley Power Association. “That’s a lot of units. But what happens to them?”

Baker looked for a video that would answer the question, but couldn’t find one she liked. So the Indianapolis-based G&T made its own.

The result is a two-and-a-half minute video that starts at a co-op member’s home in Brownsburg, Ind., where Jaco Environmental is about to haul away a garage fridge.

Host Alex Mattingly leads viewers through the process. At one point, with the fridge about to be loaded onto the truck, Mattingly stops to interview it, only to tell the audience that his subject has “frozen up.” It’s “a little freezer humor—just to break the ice,” he adds.

Foam removed from old refrigerators will go to a waste-to-energy plant. (Photo By: WVPA)

Foam removed from old refrigerators will go to a waste-to-energy plant. (Photo By: WVPA)

“He’s not an actor. He’s just a guy our ad agency knows,” Baker said. “He gets in front of a camera and does great.”

The video continues at Jaco’s Indianapolis facility, where the fridge is taken apart and the materials separated. Ninety-five percent is recycled, from oil and metal, to steel that becomes rebar for road construction.

“Tomorrow you could be driving over your own refrigerator,” Mattingly tells viewers.

And who knew there’s about 10 pounds of foam in a fridge—all of which goes to a waste-to-energy plant. “Each bag contains about 20 kilowatt-hours of energy,” Mattingly says.

It’s a lighthearted approach that conveys a serious message: Getting rid of an extra refrigerator saves energy and money.

“A lot of people don’t realize that just popping that old fridge or freezer in the garage or basement is costing them,” Baker said. “It could be upwards of $150 a year.”

Twenty-five of Wabash Valley’s distribution co-ops offer refrigerator and freezer recycling as part of the G&T’s POWER MOVES energy efficiency programs. If it’s in working order it’ll be removed for free and the member gets $35.

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