Refrigerator and Freezer Recycling 

About Refrigerator and Freezer Recycling

PenLight is currently partnered with JACO Environmental to encourage customers to recycle old, inefficient and/or extra household refrigerators and freezers to become more energy conscious and to save money. For more program information, contact JACO Environmental at (877) 577-0510.

PenLight Appliance Decommissioning Rebate

Disposing of inefficient appliances such as refrigerators is not a simple task. To make this process easier, customers within Peninsula Light’s service area are eligible to receive $20 and free refrigerator/freezer pick up just for recycling.  The requirements for refrigerator and freezer recycling are:

  • Appliance must be empty and in working condition
  • Must be between 10-30 cubic feet
  • Limit 2 per household

Click Here to Have Your Appliance Recycled Today

Appliance Decommissioning Facts

  • The energy saved by recycling one refrigerator is equivalent to almost 290 kilowatt hours. That’s enough energy to run a new ENERGY STAR qualified refrigerator for 8 months.
  • Recycling refrigerator materials, such as refrigerant and insulation, can prevent the release of up to five tons of CO2 equivalent into the atmosphere.
  • The average refrigerator aged 10 years or older contains more than 120 pounds of recyclable steel
  • Some refrigerators or freezers that are 20 years old consume an average of 1,500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually, whereas newer models only consume 400-500 kWh annually.

Ways to Reduce Refrigerator Energy Consumption

  • Set the appropriate temperature (35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Position the refrigerator in a cool place, away from any heat source
  • Leave a few inches between the wall and refrigerator to allow air circulation behind the fridge
  • Minimize the amount of time the refrigerator door is open

Buyer's Guide for Replacing Old, Inefficient Refrigerators

In looking for a new appliance consider:

  • Looking for an ENERGY STAR model
  • Checking the yellow EnergyGuide label,  Learn How to Use the EnergyGuide Label
  • Buying a refrigerator with a top-mounted freezer uses 10–25% less energy than bottom-mount or side-by-side models
  • Purchasing an appropriately sized refrigerator most energy-efficient models are typically 16–20 cubic feet
  • Skipping the ice-maker and dispenser these increase energy consumption 14-20%

More Refrigerator Information

Frequently Asked Questions


How much money can I save?

Find out how much electricity your old refrigerator is wasting by using the ENERGY STAR Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator.


What happens to my Refrigerator/Freezer?

95% of the appliance is recycled. Your appliance will be taken to JACO's facility, where a core sample is drilled to see what type of insulation it contains. The chemicals and oils will be recycled or disposed properly. Depending on the contents of the insulating foam, the refrigerator will be sawed into three pieces, the foam removed and sent to a waste-to-energy facility for processing and destruction. All other metals, plastics, and glass are recycled and the little remains are sent to a landfill.


Why is it important to dispose of your old refrigerator by recycling?

Refrigerator energy use has improved so dramatically that getting the old ones off the energy grid makes good environmental sense. If it is pre-1993 then you should recycle it. Depending on the year they were manufactured, the refrigerant and insulation in older refrigerators/freezers may contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which are ozone depleting chemicals. In addition to depleting the ozone layer, these substances are also potent greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change when emitted to the atmosphere. In 1996, CFCs were officially phased out, and it is now required that these materials be recycled so that the CFCs are not released into the atmosphere.


What's more energy efficient, a refrigerator with top-mounted freezers, bottom-mounted freezer, or a side-by-side?

In general, refrigerators with top-mounted freezers use less energy than refrigerators with either side-mounted or bottom-mounted freezers. However, there is a large degree of variation depending on the size of a given refrigerator/freezer, its defrost type, and whether the model has through-the-door ice.


How do I get my rebate check?

Your rebate check will come by mail 6-8 weeks after refrigerator/freezer pick-up.


For more program information, contact JACO Environmental at (877) 577-0510.