EPA and western utilities promote safe disposal of CFC-laden appliances

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has joined with nine utility companies in the western United States to found the Responsible Appliance Disposal program, a voluntary effort to promote the environmentally responsible disposal of obsolete refrigerators and freezers. According to an EPA press release, Americans dispose of roughly 13 million refrigerators and freezers each year. Those appliances manufactured before 1995 chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that deplete the ozone layer and contribute to climate change.

"Promoting the responsible use of products that emit ozone depleting and greenhouse gases makes business sense and protects the environment," said Bill Wehrum, acting assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, in the press release. "We have the ability to make a difference by properly disposing of everyday household appliances."

The new partnership will help utility companies encourage the retirement and proper disposal of older refrigeration units while ensuring that CFCs, both in the insulation foam and in the refrigerant, are captured and destroyed or recycled. The program also will promote the recovery and proper disposal of PCBs, mercury and used oil contained in the appliances. For more information about the Responsible Appliance Disposal program, visit www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/emissions/radp.html.