Oxford, WI – Richard Wirth knew it was the right thing to do, but he could not help feeling a little sad to get rid of his old, spare refrigerator.
“It kept my beer cold,” Wirth said. “I [kind of] hated to see it go.”
Still, Wirth recycled the fridge, which became the 80,000th appliance recycled since 2013 through Focus on Energy’s Appliance Recycling Program.
Focus on Energy officials joined representatives from Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative to honor Wirth at his Oxford home Wednesday morning when workers picked up his recycled appliance.
“It’s a pleasure to be able to recycle it,” Wirth said to his guests. “It’s been sitting in the garage for a while. My [wife is] the one who [saw the] recycling program in our newsletter, so you should thank her.”
Wirth is a member of Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative (ACEC), one of the 108 Wisconsin utilities that fund the state’s Focus on Energy program. The newsletter he mentioned was from ACEC and advertised Focus on Energy’s Appliance Recycling Program as an option for cooperative members. ACEC CEO Jay Porter says they are looking to spread the word and increase member participation in the energy efficiency programs Focus on Energy offers.
“Part of our members’ dollars go to funding the Focus on Energy program. So we, of course, want our members to see the benefits of the program,” said Porter. ACEC is the largest rural electric cooperative in the state, serving roughly 31,500 customers in parts of 12 counties.
Through the Appliance Recycling Program, Focus on Energy pays $35 to residential customers of participating utilities who recycle functioning, standard-size refrigerators and/or freezers, and also picks up the appliances from their homes. ARCA Recycling implements the Appliance Recycling Program for Focus on Energy.
“This is a significant milestone for us. ARCA Recycling is proud to work with Focus on Energy to support their Appliance Recycling Program,” said Rachel Holmes, Executive Vice President at ARCA Recycling. “Together, [we are] taking old, energy-inefficient refrigerators and freezers off the grid and preventing recyclable materials from entering the Wisconsin waste stream.”
The Appliance Recycling Program has kept about 11 million pounds of metal and one million pounds of plastic from becoming waste. That’s equivalent to the weight of 26 Statues of Liberty. By removing inefficient appliances, Wisconsin residents have also saved 777 Gigawatt hours of electricity, which is enough to power more than 62,000 homes for a year.
“Over the past five years, Focus on Energy’s Appliance Recycling Program has removed over 80,000 appliances, from tens of thousands of customers, in every county in Wisconsin,” said Scott Yee, Focus on Energy’s Senior Program Manager. “Within the Focus on Energy program portfolio, the Appliance Recycling Program consistently receives the highest customer satisfaction rating and serves as an entry point to other Focus on Energy programs.”
A recent evaluation report found every $1 invested in Focus on Energy programs creates $5.93 in benefits for Wisconsin, including economic benefits, reduced energy costs, and reduced pollution.
About Focus on Energy
Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities' statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program funded by the state's investor-owned energy utilities and participating municipal and electric cooperative utilities. Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus on Energy information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment and control Wisconsin's growing demand for electricity and natural gas. For more information call 800.762.7077 or visit focusonenergy.com.
About Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative
ACEC’s service area covers approximately 2,500 square miles in the central Wisconsin counties of: Adams, Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green Lake, Jefferson, Marquette, Portage, Sauk, Waupaca, Waushara and Wood. Adams-Columbia was formed in 1987 following the merger of the former Adams-Marquette Electric Cooperative and the former Columbus Rural Electric Cooperative. In 1992, a second merger combined Adams-Columbia with the former Waushara Electric Cooperative. The cooperative is governed by a member-elected, 9-person board of directors (7 district positions, 2 at large).