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April 4, 2013

If spring cleaning means getting rid of an old refrigerator or freezer from the garage or basement, you'll be eligible to win one of four $500 prepaid debit cards from the state's Clean Energy program. To enter, New Jersey residents need to visit the program's webpage between April 1 and May 31 and schedule a recycling pickup.

Eligible appliances must be in working order and between 10 and 30 cubic feet. All of those participating will receive a free pickup and a $50 incentive check, as well as be entered into a drawing for a $500 prepaid debit card.

This year's refrigerator recycling contest follows last year's successful search for the state's oldest working refrigerator, which was won by Stanley Swiderski of Hamilton Township. Swiderski won $1,000 for recycling a working 1935 Westinghouse refrigerator.

The state says its recycling program, which runs year-round with a $50 incentive but not the special debit card drawing, encourages energy efficiency in multiple ways. The old refrigerator/freezers are taken off the power grid, saving owners about $150 a year in electricity costs as well as helping the environment. The recycled appliances are dismantled in an East Brunswick de-manufacturing facility operated by JAC Environmental, which reclaims 95 percent of the appliance while safely removing hazardous materials. The insulation is safely incinerated to create electricity that's sent back onto the grid.

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