Remember when the Environmental Protection Agency’s ban on chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, because they punched holes in the ozone layer, forced refrigerator manufacturers to switch to more environmentally friendly refrigerants?
The bad CFCs were duly replaced with supposedly good hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, which don’t destroy ozone. So everybody stopped worrying about the ticking time bombs in their kitchens that were threatening to destroy the Earth’s protective mantle while keeping the microbrew cold and the organic veggies fresh.
However, it turns out that HFCs require more electricity to produce the same amount of cooling. Who knew? Which means that ozone-saving fridges make bigger carbon footprints than their ozone-destroying counterparts.
Something Must Be Done before the fridge destroys the polar bear! But never fear. The EPA is already on the case.
“The Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department are slowly tightening the rules on appliances, requiring them to do the same work with less and less energy,” writes New York Times blogger Matthew Wald.
So is General “We Don’t Pay No Stinkin’ Taxes” Electric, which has announced a new program with Appliance Recycling Centers of America that will recapture what Wald says are all “the harmful gases that have been locked up years ago in those foam bubbles” of refrigerator insulation.
GE brags that it is the first appliance manufacturer to partner with the EPA on its Responsible Appliance Disposal Program, which pays GE to recycle old fridges, washing machines and other discarded appliances. So GE pays no taxes – and at the same time collects money other taxpayers have paid. Nice work if you can get it.
Meanwhile, in California, consumers who purchased new EPA-approved, energy efficient appliances are apparently having a devil of a time collecting the stimulus-funded rebates they were promised under the federal Cash for Appliances program.