"This is a significant milestone for us and is an example of the many ways we are working together with our customers to make responsible choices that help the environment," said Caroline Winn, vice president of customer services and chief customer privacy officer for SDG&E. "Just within the past two years, 34,000 SDG&E customers have recycled appliances, saving the equivalent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions from nearly 4,500 passenger vehicles. These customers also saved an average of more than $200 on their annual energy bill.
The Appliance Recycling Program, which has been available since 2000, provides SDG&E residential electric customers a rebate to recycle their old, working refrigerators, freezers and/or room air conditioners. A $35 rebate is provided per refrigerator/freezer, and a $25 rebate is provided for room air conditioners that are collected in conjunction with a refrigerator/freezer. The appliances, which are picked up inside the customers' home and are properly recycled in a local California recycling center, provide a convenient and environmentally friendly solution for the disposal of old, working refrigeration appliances.
According to SDG&E customer Michael Thomas, the financial incentive and free haul-away were key reasons that motivated him to sign up for the Appliance Recycling Program. "This is a great program. We just had our first child and the money will sure come in handy," said Thomas.
A 20-year-old refrigerator or freezer can consume two to four times more energy annually than a new model, and, as a result, can significantly increase customers' energy bills.
SDG&E's Appliance Recycling Program is managed by ARCA through its ARCA California subsidiary located in Compton, Calif. ARCA, one of the nation's largest recyclers of major household appliances, is dedicated to preserving the environment through energy efficiency and proper appliance disposal.
"ARCA is proud to work with utilities such as SDG&E, where together we are able to prevent recyclable materials in old appliances from entering the waste stream," said Jack Cameron, ARCA president and CEO. "The environmental benefits from recycling refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners are enormous and include safe management of hazardous materials and reduced energy consumption. In addition, our processes prevent the release of ozone-depleting substances, greenhouse gases, PCBs, mercury, batteries and oil into the environment."
SDG&E is a regulated public utility that provides safe and reliable energy service to 3.4 million consumers through 1.4 million electric meters and more than 850,000 natural gas meters in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The utility's area spans 4,100 square miles. SDG&E is committed to creating ways to help customers save energy and money every day.
SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE). Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2011 revenues of $10 billion. The Sempra Energy companies' 17,500 employees serve more than 31 million consumers worldwide.
ARCA, one of the nation's largest recyclers of major household appliances for the energy conservation programs of electric utilities, currently provides services for more than 250 utilities in the U.S. and Canada. Toxic chemicals and environmentally harmful materials such as ozone-depleting refrigerants, PCBs, mercury and oil are carefully recovered in the decommissioning process for destruction or disposal, preventing them from contaminating soil, air and water resources. The company is also the exclusive North American distributor for UNTHA Recycling Technology (URT), one of the world's leading manufacturers of technologically advanced refrigerator recycling systems and recycling facilities for electrical household appliances and electronic scrap.