Contact Us


1996 News Releases



Release Date: 09/25/1996
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1064

BOSTON - In response to an enforcement action by the New England office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company has committed to investing nearly $700,000 to establish a company-wide recycling program for automobile antifreeze. Goodyear will purchase automotive antifreeze recycling machines to use at 575 Goodyear stores nationwide. The new equipment cleans and recycles antifreeze removed from cars during servicing of coolant systems. The antifreeze, which contains ethylene glycol, is then put back into cars and reused.

EPA cited the company, under the federal Clean Air Act, in 1994 and 1995 for using improperly trained and certified technicians to service automobile air conditioners at three of its New England auto stores. Federal law requires that only trained technicians service air conditioning units and that they use approved equipment to capture and recycle freon, a chloroflurocarbon or CFC) when working on vehicles. The three stores cited by EPA are located in Woonsocket, RI, Westfield, MA, and South Portland, ME. In addition to the management system changes and new recycling equipment, Goodyear will pay a $23,560 penalty for the original violations to settle the government's complaint.

"When an opportunity arises, through an enforcement action or other means, we will seek greater returns in environmental protection," said John P. DeVillars, administrator for EPA's New England office. "Goodyear is to be commended for its national response to a problem found at several of its New England stores. And the company's antifreeze recycling efforts promise real environmental benefits, beyond the requirements of the law, at 575 stores including 39 in this part of the country."

Goodyear claims that the antifreeze recycling operations will:

    • reduce spills to facility drains and to sewage systems;
    • eliminate the need to ship used antifreeze to East Chicago, Indiana, for recycling;
    • avoid the generation of hazardous waste through cross-contamination of antifreeze with other wastes;
    • reduce the purchase and use of new antifreeze.
The release of regulated refrigerants such as CFCs and halons depletes the stratospheric ozone layer. Stratospheric ozone shields the earth's surface from dangerous ultraviolet (UV-B) radiation. As depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer occurs, it is believed that penetration of UV-B radiation increases, resulting in potential health and environmental harm including increased incidence of certain skin cancers and cataracts, suppression of the immune system, damage to crops and aquatic organisms, increased formation of ground-level ozone, and increased weathering of outdoor plastics.

The manufacture of CFCs and other related substances has been phased out by more than 150 countries as part of the 1988 Montreal Protocol agreement. CFCs are currently regulated in the US under Title VI of the Clean Air Act which prohibits the release of these chemical compounds into the atmosphere from the repair or disposal of air conditioning systems and other appliances. Title VI also requires proper handling and recycling of CFCs and limits the sale of CFC refrigerants to certified air conditioning and refrigeration technicians.