MERRILLVILLE, Ind., July 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) and Appliance Recycling Centers of America, Inc. (ARCA) recently held a milestone event on July 17, 2012 for the 5,000th appliance collection at a local customer's home in Valparaiso. Launched in 2010, NIPSCO's Appliance Recycling Program offers free pick up and recycling of old, working refrigerators and freezers. Residents also receive a $35 reward from NIPSCO as a thank you for helping improve the environment and conserve energy (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120718/CG42630-a) (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120718/CG42630-b) "NIPSCO's Appliance Recycling Program is a way for us to promote proper disposal and management of hazardous materials," said Dan Plath, Principal of Environmental, Safety and Sustainability. "Recycling old refrigerators and freezers not only prevents a notable risk to the environment, it encourages customers to be more energy efficient." A 20-year old refrigerator or freezer can consume two to four times more energy annually than a new model, and, as a result, can significantly increase customers' electric bills. Older refrigerators and freezers put a great strain on local Indiana power grids, especially during peak hours*. This program provides a convenient and environmentally safe solution for old, energy guzzling appliances that take up space in local Indiana customer's basements and garages. NIPSCO is also a proud voluntary partner of Environmental Protection Agency's Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program, which began in October 2006 to help protect the ozone layer and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. NIPSCO, through its contract with ARCA, recovers ozone-depleting chemicals from old refrigerators and freezers and recycles the appliances using best available environmental practices thus meeting the RAD Program guidelines. "By partnering with EPA's Responsible Appliance Disposal program since 2011, NIPSCO has demonstrated a commitment to using the best available environmental practices when it comes to appliance recycling," said Sarah Dunham, Director of EPA's Office of Atmospheric Programs. "While NIPSCO marks the proper recycling of 5,000 appliances today, we know the benefits to the earth's ozone layer and climate will continue to grow in the years to come." For additional program information please visit NIPSCO.com/Fridge. For additional photographs or footage of the event and/or recycling process please contact Kathleen Szot, External Communications Specialist, NIPSCO Communications & Public Affairs at 219.647.4068 or Tiffany Olson, Marketing and Advertising Manager, ARCA, Inc. at 952.930.1754. About NIPSCONIPSCO, with headquarters in Merrillville, Ind., is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI). With more than 786,000 natural gas customers and 457,000 electric customers across the northern third of Indiana, NIPSCO is the largest natural gas distribution company, and the second largest electric distribution company, in the state. NiSource distribution companies serve 3.8 million natural gas and electric customers primarily in seven states.About ARCAARCA's (NASDAQ:ARCI) three business components are uniquely positioned in the industry to work together to provide a full array of appliance-related services. Twenty Company-owned stores under the name ApplianceSmart, Inc.® sell new appliances directly to consumers and provide affordable ENERGY STAR® options for energy efficiency appliance replacement programs; ARCA's regional centers process appliances at end of life to remove environmentally damaging substances and produce material byproducts for recycling for over 200 utilities in the U.S. and Canada; and ARCA Advanced Processing, LLC employs advanced technology to refine traditional appliance recycling techniques to achieve optimal revenue-generating and environmental benefits. ARCA is also the exclusive North American distributor for UNTHA Recycling Technology (URT), one of the world's leading manufacturers of technologically advanced refrigerator recycling systems and recycling facilities for electrical household appliances and electronic scrap.About the Responsible Appliance Disposal ProgramEPA's Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program is a voluntary partnership program that began in October 2006 to help protect the ozone layer and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. As part of the RAD program, partners recover ozone-depleting chemicals from old refrigerators, freezers, window air conditioners, and dehumidifiers. Using best practices, RAD partners ensure that refrigerant is recovered and reclaimed or destroyed; foam is recovered and destroyed, or the blowing agent is recovered and reclaimed; metals, plastic, and glass are recycled; and PCBs, mercury, and used oil are recovered and properly disposed.As part of the program, EPA serves as a resource on responsible appliance disposal program development and implementation; calculates annual and cumulative program benefits in terms of ODS and GHG emission savings and equivalents and, as available, potential cost savings; and provides partner recognition for achievement.*Source: www.energystar.gov SOURCE Appliance Recycling Centers of America, Inc.