Search is on for Wisconsin's oldest refrigerator

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Focus on Energy is on the hunt for Wisconsin’s oldest refrigerator. The Wisconsin resident who retires and recycles the state’s most ancient icebox will receive a $1,000 prize.

Wisconsin residents can schedule a free pickup by calling 1-855-398-5226 or visiting Refrigerators and freezers must be electric, in working order, clean and empty. In addition, there must be a clear path for removal through a garage, basement or kitchen. A maximum of two units per household per calendar year will be accepted.

The customer with the oldest refrigerator recycled from Focus on Energy will win a $1,000 prize and the title of Wisconsin’s Oldest Refrigerator. The winner will be announced in September.

In addition to the contest, anyone who recycles a secondary refrigerator or freezer will earn the $50 reward and can save up to $150 a year in energy costs. While the recycling program is available year-round, the Oldest Refrigerator Contest is limited to June 1 through August 31.

Typically, appliances recycled through the program are outdated units that sit unused or are used for extra storage in garages and basements. But the convenience of chilling beverages and some leftovers can come at a steep price. Refrigerators manufactured before 1990 can use up to three times more electricity than new appliances.

Units picked up Focus on Energy are transported to an appliance recycling facility in Franklin, Wisconsin. Hazardous materials are removed 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.