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Sears Joins EPA to Help Protect the Planet – One Old Ice Box at a Time

Release Date: 10/18/2007
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, (202) 564-4355 / perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov

(Chicago, Ill. - Oct. 18, 2007) What do your old refrigerator and freezer have to do with the stratospheric ozone layer and climate change? Plenty. That's why Sears Home Services is taking the lead among retailers to join the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's voluntary Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program. The program promotes environmentally responsible disposal of household appliances, and will significantly reduce emissions of ozone depleting substances and greenhouse gases.

"Retailers play a vital role in environmental progress as well as economic progress," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "When consumers buy new fridges and freezers from Sears, they can rest assured that the ozone-depleting chemicals in their old appliances will be disposed of properly."

"Sears Home Services is excited about being the first Retailer to partner with the EPA in its Responsible Appliance Disposal Program, making our company the leader in the retail industry," said Mark Good, executive vice president/general manager, Sears Home Services. "Sears has been a leader for years in the development of energy-efficient appliances and this is a natural extension of that. Our customers have come to know Sears as the place to go for information, services and products related to green living."

Each year, Americans dispose of roughly 10 million refrigerators and freezers that contain ozone-destroying and heat-trapping chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The new partnership will result in the proper disposal of more than 1 million residential refrigerators and freezers per year. The annual greenhouse gas emissions savings resulting from Sears' efforts will be equivalent to preventing the emissions from 650,000 cars.

Through the program, the refrigerants and appliance insulating foam that contain CFCs and HFCs are captured and destroyed or recycled. The program will also include the recovery and proper disposal of other appliance waste streams, such as Polychlorinated biphenyls
(PCBs), mercury switches, and used oil.

If not properly handled at the end of an appliance's lifecycle, CFC releases lead to a diminished ozone layer, which allows more ultraviolet (UV) radiation to reach the Earth's surface. Overexposure to UV rays can lead to skin cancer, cataracts, and weakened immune systems. Increased UV can also lead to reduced crop yield and disruptions in the marine food chain.

In addition to appliance retailers, EPA is working with a variety of industry sectors to quantify and reduce emissions and promote efficient technologies that are safer for the ozone layer and Earth's climate.

For more information about the RAD program: epa.gov/ozone/partnerships/rad/index.html

To become a partner: epa.gov/ozone/partnerships/rad/radpartners.html