My grandparents had an old Magnavox floor model TV that was probably from the fifties. It was about 35-years-old. Back then you didn’t throw your appliances away like they do now. If your TV went out you simply took out the bad tube, went down to the drugstore where they had a cabinet that was filled with new ones. The cabinet also had a tube tester on the top just in case the old tube didn’t look all that bad.
Even if a picture tube blew out and it was beyond repair, it was still kept as a piece of furniture to put the new television on. My grandparents had a whole attic of old television sets that they had accumulated over the years. It was sort of like a television graveyard.
They also had a refrigerator that was about the same age as the TV. About every five years or so my grandfather would replace the door gasket. It also got a yearly cleaning. The same could be said about all of the other appliances in the house, including the radios, toaster, coffeepot, and the washing machine.
Back then, people stayed loyal to a product name and the manufacturers made them to last and most of them were easy to repair. If you couldn’t repair it you took it down to the neighborhood repair shop. Now, since appliances have gotten so complicated, the user can no longer repair them. And they cost so much to fix that it’s cheaper to just go out and buy a new one.
This ease of throwing the appliance away has caused a problem with electronics ending up in landfills, where they leak noxious chemicals out like mercury and cadmium. According to the Healthy Planet Magazine: “AmerenUE in St. Louis can now help you lower your monthly energy bills and pay you to do it! Right now, UE is providing a $35 incentive to recycle your old, working, qualifying refrigerator or freezer. The appliance is even picked up, free of charge.”
The Refrigerator Recycling Program is just one of several programs and incentives that the utility company has come up with to try to get people to trade their old energy wasting appliances for new more energy efficient ones.
Recycling old appliances helps in two different ways: One, it helps keep them out of landfills where they pollute the earth, and two, by using the new, more efficient appliances a lot of energy is saved.