A great article in the New York Times follows a reporter’s dilemma of whether to replace her decade-old refrigerator with a newer and greener model. The trouble was, her fridge worked just fine, and there is some ecological cost to manufacturing a new appliance.
Further, if you replace the
fridge, the eco-sensitive solution is not to put the old one in the garage and
use it for beer – then you’re practically doubling your environmental
impact. And selling the old fridge isn’t
the right environmental solution either, because someone else will be wasting
the same amount of energy that you’re trying to save. Proper disposal can be tricky as well.
In the end, someone from the National Resources Defense Council came up with a great rule-of-thumb: if the fridge is avocado-colored or brown, it was probably made in the 60s, and is so inefficient that it’s worth replacing. Any later than that, and the greenest consumer choice is to not buy anything.