Could 'Cash for Refrigerators' Be the Next Govt. Incentive?

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The Obama administration is currently considering a $300 million program to offer rebates to consumers that purchase household appliances  meeting ENERGY STAR standards, according to a BusinessWeek report.

The Energy Department estimates that the bulk of the funds will be used by the end of November, with rebates between $50-200 for appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators and washing machines.

Similar to "Cash for Clunkers," the "Cash for Refrigerators" program would allot $300 million towards the recycling of older household appliances. Photo: Flickr/24by36

Similar to "Cash for Clunkers," the "Cash for Refrigerators" program would allot $300 million towards the recycling of older household appliances. Photo: Flickr/24by36

The money has already been earmarked as part of the economic stimulus package passed earlier this year.

In 2008, 55 percent of major household appliances manufactured were ENERGY STAR-certified. Cash for Appliances would also potentially help boost the sagging sales for these products, as the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers reports shipments are down 15 percent this year. This was after a 10 percent drop in 2008.

The U.K. is discussing a different incentive to encourage energy-efficient appliance purchases called “Cash for Appliances.” The British Retail Consortium is requesting that the government waive its value added tax (VAT) on all energy-efficient appliances to encourage trade ups. The VAT on household appliances in the U.K. is typically 15 percent.

Unlike the recently expired Cash for Clunkers, Cash for Appliances would not require consumers to trade in or recycle their old models. The process for recycling appliances and autos is very similar, as both are shredded to extract metal.

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Trey Granger

Trey Granger is a former senior waste stream analyst for Earth911.
Trey Granger

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Comments

  1. Interesting… I was not aware that the United Kingdom was running a similar program. I like their approach, it seems very simplistic.. simply don’t add tax to those new appliance purchases. But I’m not sure if a similar approach would work here in the U.S., as our “Cash for Refrigerators” program is managed by each individual state, which has its own tax rates and restrictions to the program.

  2. Wow, did anyone think about how much refrigerant would need to be properly evacuated and disposed of from refrigerated units to be in compliance with the Clean Air Act?

  3. My concern is what is going to happen to all the old refridgerators? I have people calling constantly asking how to recycle their refridgerators. Although yes, they go for scrap metal, the freon must be removed properly first. I am not sure sure this is happening appropriately. At least the rebate might help with the cost of the freon removal.

  4. I love the idea of being able to recycle my old refridgerators…I have several stored in the barn, and am still using one from 1974…it’s a real electric guzzler. I also live in a predominantly rural/agriculture zoned area and getting ANY sort of recycling going here has been a struggle. Farmers are used to just designating a dump site on their land to pile up the old relics of cars, appliances, and farm machinery. Our ground water has high levels of lead, nitrates and iron. It took many years of educating and State mandates to stop many from dumping their toxic fluids into the soil and run-off prevention. ByTech of WI is still a major offender, but our DNR looks the other way and allows them ( illegally ) to self-regulate/control and self report toxic spills…which they don’t of coarse. The DNR only gets involved when a citizen reports it. Rural communities don’t have the funds to start good recycling programs on their own, so they wait until certain ones are State mandated…and then groan and resist it for years. Most are still non-complient until the County DA orders fines. My county has a recycle center but you have to live in the city to be allowed to use it, if you live outside of the city you are SOL, ( explain why I pay county taxes but can’t use the center! )

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