Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Date: April 21, 2015
NEW CASTLE, Del. (April 21, 2015 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today welcomed the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) as the first state partner in the EPA's Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program, a nationwide effort to protect the ozone layer and reduce greenhouse gases by properly disposing old refrigerators, freezers and other appliances.
"By joining EPA's RAD program, DHSS becomes an environmentally responsible partner in helping to protect the ozone layer and combat climate change," said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. "Everybody wins when we responsibly dispose of appliances with refrigerants because it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and makes a positive impact on the air we breathe."
By becoming a partner, DHSS shows they are committed to making a positive impact on the environment by agreeing to recover ozone-depleting chemicals from old refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, and other appliances using best practices that ensure refrigerants and other parts are either reclaimed, recycled or disposed of properly.
"Being good stewards for the people of Delaware extends beyond effective and efficient use of taxpayer funds," said DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf. "It also means that we are responsible for the buildings and the grounds from which we serve the public. By recycling old air-conditioning units, refrigerators and freezers from our buildings, and recovering the refrigerant and foam from those appliances, DHSS is demonstrating that we can be good environmental stewards, too. We are proud to be the first state partner in the EPA's Responsible Appliance Disposal Program."
DHSS operates social services, senior living and health facilities in 156 buildings throughout Delaware where there is a consistent turnover of appliances. In 2014 alone, DHSS recycled 8,605 pounds of heating, ventilation and air conditioning appliances, and DHSS estimates that the department will divert more than six tons of waste from landfills by 2016.
"For a small state like Delaware, recycling is particularly important because of the limited space our state has for landfills," said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, co-chair of the Senate Recycling Caucus. "Today, we see that our resources - financial and natural - have been stretched, and stretched in some instances to their limits. We need solutions to managing our resources that are win-wins for our economy and our environment. This recycling program is one of these win-win solutions."
RAD partners include retailers, municipalities, utilities, manufacturers and universities. During 2013, RAD partners achieved emissions reductions that are equivalent to the annual carbon emissions from the electricity use of more than 309,000 homes. Of this, 64 percent can be attributed to reclaiming or destroying refrigerants, 30 percent to reclaiming or destroying foam-blowing agents, and 6 percent to recycling durable materials.
RAD partners work with recyclers to ensure the proper recovery of both refrigerant and foam from end-of-life appliances. They also save landfill space and reduce energy consumption by ensuring the recycling of durable materials, and keep communities clean by preventing appliance dumping and the release of hazardous and toxic materials.
In 2012, RAD partners processed more than 880,000 refrigerators and other appliances, which has successfully reduced emissions of ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases. Partners have also reduced energy consumption, increased the recycling of durable goods, and ensured the proper handling of hazardous substances.
More information on EPA's RAD Program: www.epa.gov/ozone/partnerships/rad/ .
To download photos from today's event: www.flickr.com/photos/deldhss/sets/72157651681571819/
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.