Wisconsin Electric’s Appliance Turn-In Program (APTI) began in 1987 as part of the utility’s comprehensive Smart Money program. APTI was the nation’s first large scale residential appliance turn-in program. The goal of the program is to get underutilized but operable second refrigerators, freezers, and room air conditioners out of service and properly dismantled. These appliances are removed by Wisconsin Electric at no charge and in return, the customer receives their choice of a $25 check or $50 U.S. savings bond for a room air conditioner, and a $50 check or $100 U.S. savings bond for a refrigerator or freezer.
Through 1991, over 240,000 residential appliances have been picked up and properly dismantled through APTI. Refrigerators account for around 60% of the appliances turned in, while room air conditioners account for 30%, and freezers account for 10%. All of the collected appliances are recycled. Metal components are recycled and the refrigerants, which contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), are drained and stored for re-use. Over 30 tons of CFCs have been recovered from old appliances. All appliance capacitors are removed at a processing facility and sent to an EPA-approved facility to be destroyed.
Helping the environment while helping the customer financially is the basic theme of the APTI program’s marketing push. Wisconsin Electric has used media advertising for the program, has placed program information in new appliance dealer showrooms, has benefitted from word of mouth, and continues to run bill inserts to educate its customers about the program and its 800 telephone number. The actual delivery of the program is carried out by 8 to 10 cartage contractors who test and then pick up the used appliances, and take them to a dismantling facility located in Milwaukee.
From 1987 to 1991 the Appliance Turn-In Program has resulted in demand savings of 20.8 MW and energy savings of 62.9 GWh. In 1991, the program produced demand savings of 5.2 MW and 8.2 GWh of energy savings. More than $10 million in incentives have been paid out since the inception of the APTI program.
Wisconsin Electric estimates that the APTI program has avoided burning the electrical demand of the old appliances. In addition, over 452 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions, which are a primary cause of acid rain, were avoided. Wisconsin Electric estimates that if all the appliances gathered by the APTI program were buried in one landfill, the landfill would cover 10 acres and be 15 feet deep!
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