photo by SnaPsi Сталкер (Flickr CC)

When I see old, but apparently perfectly functional refrigerators and other household appliances thrown away, left on the street or stacked in dumpsites, my gut reaction is to say ‘what a waste’.

This may be a naïve or simplistic response to the issues of waste and efficiency, however. Sure, most people are probably replacing their white goods due to fashion, keeping up with the Joneses, or other less than environmentally conscious concerns, but older models of refrigerators or other appliances may also be far more energy inefficient than the modern versions they are being replaced with. Chalk one up for (regulated) capitalism.

In Germany, retailers and environmental groups are teaming up and launching a campaign to dump energy greedy fridges in favor of shiny new more eco-friendly models. From the perspectives of those two groups, it sounds like a win-win situation. And consumers are also getting financial incentives in the form of cash back on their purchases as well as lower electricity bills from their newer, more efficient appliances.

Organizers said the fridge replacement program would be greener than a similar federal “cash for clunkers” scheme that offered to a 2,500 euros incentive for consumers to replace old vehicles with newer models. Even as 2 million people in Germany traded in their cars, the plan came under fire by environmental groups as being aimed at stimulating the economy by boosting auto sales rather than helping the environment.

–Deutsche Welle

For more on the story, see the following report from Deutsche Welle:

German groups urge consumers to ditch inefficient fridges