Environmental Benefits

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Since the inception of the RAD Program, partners have successfully reduced emissions of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and greenhouse gases (GHGs). Partners have also reduced energy consumption, increased the recycling of durable goods, and ensured the proper handling of hazardous substances. Annual environmental benefits achieved by RAD partners are summarized in the table below.

More information on these environmental benefits is provided below.

Table 1. Summary of RAD Partners & Benefits Achieved
  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011a 2012
Number of Partners and Affiliates 9 16 23 34 44 50
Number of Units Processed
Refrigerators 166,557 418,223 644,751 669,523 815,595 794,113
Stand-alone freezers 9,316 81,592 35,356 63,387 82,367 84,063
Window air conditioners 290 5,608 2,136 2,376 5,253 7,321
Dehumidifiers 0 533 55 156 878 1,180
Ozone Benefits (ODP-weighted tons avoided)b 89a 153 148 151 217 274
Climate Benefits (MMTCO2eq)c
Emissions avoided by recovery of refrigerant and foam-blowing agent  0.6a 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.7 2.2
Emissions avoided by increased recycling of durable goods <0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.1
Reduced energy consumption through early appliance retirement  1.1 1.5 1.9 2.2 2.3 1.9
Durable Materials Recycled (million lbs.) 3 9 110 118 147 148
Hazardous Substances Properly Treated
Used Oil (thousand gal.) 31 164 46 43 59 77
Other Hazardous Components (thousand components) NAd NAd NAd 86 95 47

a Due to corrections in partner data reporting, the benefits shown here differ from those presented in the Annual Report.
b ODP = ozone depletion potential.
c MMTCO2eq = Million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
d NA= not available; hazardous components were reported in pounds prior to 2010. Reported quantities were 1,500 lbs. in 2007, 14,100 lbs. in 2008, and 215,100 lbs. in 2009.

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Stratospheric Ozone Benefits

RAD partners reduce emissions of ODS by recovering and reclaiming or destroying ODS refrigerant (CFC-12, HCFC-22) and foam-blowing agent (CFC-11, HCFC-141b) contained in household appliances. The quantity of refrigerant and foam-blowing agent recovered and properly handled by RAD partners in 2007-2012 is shown below.

Refrigerants and Foam-Blowing Agents Recovered by RAD Partners, 2007-2012*

Bar chart illustrating refrigerant and foam-blowing agent recovered by RAD Partners, 2007-2012. Refrigerants: 2007: 5,500 pounds of HFC-134a, 200 pounds of HCFC-22, and 57,800 pounds of CFC-12; 2008: 62,800 pounds of HFC-134a, 18,200 pounds of HCFC-22, an

* No ozone benefits are associated with the reclamation/destruction of HFC-134a refrigerant or HFC-245fa foam-blowing agent, although significant climate benefits are realized (see section below).

By avoiding the release of CFC and HCFC refrigerant and foam-blowing agent, an estimated 270 ozone depletion potential (ODP)-weighted tons of emissions were avoided in 2012. The majority of refrigerant and foam-blowing agents recovered in 2012 were CFCs. This is the result of RAD partners’ efforts to target older, inefficient units. In the coming years, more HFC units will be retired. Proper handling of HFC refrigerants and blowing agents at end-of-life will reduce GHG emissions.

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Climate Benefits

The recovery of CFC, HCFC, and HFC refrigerants and foam-blowing agents from household appliances results in significant climate benefits, as these substances are all potent GHGs. In addition, the recycling of durable materials from appliances results in lower emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) associated with the generation of electricity, which would have otherwise been needed to produce virgin materials. The total GHG emissions avoided through refrigerant recovery, foam recovery, and durable goods recycling by RAD partners in 2007-2012 are shown below.

GHG Emissions Avoided through Proper Appliance Disposal by RAD Partners, 2007-2012

2,382,400 MTCO2eq.

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Energy Savings

For utilities, appliance recycling programs can be an important component of a successful demand side management (DSM) program. Replacing old, inefficient refrigerant-containing appliances reduces the amount of electricity needed to power them and, therefore, the amount of CO2 emissions released. By collecting old, inefficient appliances for proper disposal, RAD’s utility partners have generated the benefits summarized in the table below. As shown, the energy savings realized by RAD utility partners, as well as the associated climate benefits and consumer savings, have increased steadily over the last six years.

Table 2. Benefits from Early Appliance Retirement by RAD Partners
  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011a 2012
Number of Units Retired Prematurely
Refrigerators 166,557 214,373 250,314 254,962 273,520 294,019
Stand-alone freezers 9,316 12,530 6,703 44,434 48,614 78,705
Window air conditioners 290 1,407 1,186 1,223 1,712 3,062
Dehumidifiers 0 533 49 21 29 264
Energy Saved (billion kWh)b 1.7 2.4 2.7 3 3.2 2.6
Climate Benefits (MMTCO2eq)c 1.1 1.5 2 2.2 2.3 1.9
Consumer Savings (million $) $146 $283 $320 $372 $424 $313

a Due to corrections in partner data reporting, the benefits shown here differ from those presented in the Annual Report.
b kWh = kilowatt hours.
c MMTCO2eq = million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

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Other Environmental Benefits

RAD partners further protect the environment by keeping recyclable materials—such as glass, plastics, and metals—out of landfills and by ensuring the proper handling of hazardous wastes—namely used oil from compressors, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from capacitors, and mercury from thermostatic switches. As shown below, RAD partners have recovered significant quantities of these materials.

Table 3. Handling of Durable Goods and Hazardous Substances by RAD Partners
  2007 2008 2009 2010 2011a 2012
Durable Materials Recycled (million lbs.)
Ferrous metals 23 73 78 85 107 117
Non-ferrous metals 1 2 16 16 18 6
Plastic 3 10 14 15 19 22
Glass <1 2 2 2 3 3
Proper Treatment of Hazardous Substances
Used oil (thousand gal.) 31 164 46 43 59 77
PCB-containing capacitors (thousand capacitors) NAb  NAb  NAb 45 50 44
Mercury-containing components (thousand components) NAc NAc NAc 41 46 4

a Due to corrections in partner data reporting, the benefits shown here differ from those presented in the RAD Annual Report.
b NA = not available; PCB-containing capacitors were reported in pounds prior to 2010. Reported quantities were 1,400 lbs. in 2007, 8,200 lbs. in 2008, and 213,500 lbs in 2009.
cNA = not available; mercury-containing components were reported in pounds prior to 2010. Reported quantities were 100 lbs. in 2007, 5,900 lbs. in 2008, and 1,600 lbs. in 2009.

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Outlook for the Future

Looking ahead, the RAD Program will continue to expand its membership and increase the environmental benefits achieved each year. The RAD Program is gaining momentum as industry and appliance owners alike learn about the importance of proper disposal and do what they can to address the problem. As of October 2013, 55 RAD partners and affiliates have joined the program.

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