When Adolph Thomay’s refrigerator was made, the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, and gas cost just $0.10 per gallon. Thomay, a Cleveland Public Power customer, had the oldest refrigerator collected from the municipal electric systems that participate in Efficiency Smart.
The statewide “Ohio’s Oldest Fridge” contest was sponsored by most of the state’s electricity providers as part of an effort to promote an appliance recycling energy efficiency initiative.
At the statewide level, two 1930 refrigerators belonging to residents in Upper Arlington, near Columbus, and Middleburg Heights, also in the metro Cleveland area, tied for the title of Ohio’s Oldest Fridge.
Thomay’s 1934 General Electric refrigerator was declared the oldest model collected from the 47 Ohio municipal electric systems that participate in Efficiency Smart. Thomay scheduled his old refrigerator for free pickup and recycling through Efficiency Smart’s appliance recycling initiative after learning about the contest and initiative through an Efficiency Smart mailing. Thomay will receive a $250 prize for owning the oldest refrigerator picked up in Efficiency Smart’s service area in addition to the standard $50 incentive that every customer receives for participating in the recycling initiative.
Thomay’s parents purchased the refrigerator secondhand in the 1950s, when they immigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia. The refrigerator was later passed down to Adolph Thomay, who moved the refrigerator with him when he relocated to his house in Cleveland where the refrigerator was picked up for recycling.
“It was time to retire the fridge, make some money, and save on my electric bills,” said Thomay. “I appreciate the recycling program– especially what it offers senior citizens– and hope other people also take advantage of it.”
Thomay’s refrigerator was one of thousands of refrigerators and freezers picked up throughout Ohio during a joint effort between utilities to find the oldest functioning fridge in the state. In addition to uncovering the state’s oldest working refrigerators, the campaign succeeded in saving the state a significant amount of energy by removing these and many younger, but still outdated, appliances from the electric grid.
Customers of Efficiency Smart’s participating municipal electric systems can save money by recycling older, inefficient appliances. To take advantage of the initiative, customers can call 855-695-5296 or visit www.efficiencysmart.org. Appliances recycled must be secondary units, in working order, and between 10 and 30 cubic feet.
Recycling refrigerators and freezers creates many benefits for utility customers and the environment. Many people don’t realize older refrigerators and freezers can use up to three times more energy to run than newer models built to higher energy-efficiency standards. By recycling a unit, participants can save as much as $150 a year through lower electricity costs by not operating an older refrigerator or freezer.
Units picked up through the initiative are transported to an appliance recycling facility operated by JACO Environmental. JACO safely removes hazardous materials from the old energy-guzzlers, reclaiming 95 percent of the materials in the appliances for reuse in manufacturing new products. Even the foam insulation is safely incinerated to generate electricity.