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Phoenix resident Brian Wharton is awarded a gift basket for owning the 50,000th appliance recycled by Salt River Project. (KTAR Photo/Sandra Haros)

PHOENIX -- Salt River Project reached a milestone Tuesday thanks to Phoenix resident Brian Wharton.

His old, inefficient refrigerator marked the 50,000th appliance to be picked up for recycling by the utility company.

"That's an awful lot of refrigerators, a sea of refrigerators," said Wharton. "[I'm] happy to be anywhere in the lineup, but 50,000th is a good milestone for the recycling program."

During the pick-up, SRP workers surprised Wharton with balloons and a gift basket, which included energy-efficient light bulbs and other items.

According to SRP, since its inception the program has saved enough energy to power more than 10,000 homes for a year, a regional shopping mall for five years or a professional sports complex for 10 years.

The utility has been recycling an average of 850 appliances per month since it began.

Sandra Haros , Reporter

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