In a move that Forbes says could "change the business of cooling," Ben & Jerry's is planning to use the country's first hydroflourocarbon-free freezers. HFCs are among the worst greenhouse gases.
The freezers "are a rare example of a global warming solution that actually saves money," according to Forbes, which reports that they are about 10 percent more efficient than conventional freezers, though they cost about the same.
The freezers are already being used in Europe, Asia and Latin America. The reason they are only now being used here is because of an earlier environmental problem â€" chlorofluorocarbons, which were banned after it was discovered that they pokes holes in the ozone layer. So freezer-makers used other chemicals, such as HFCs, which contribute to global warming.
Companies have to get permission from the Environmental Protection Agency to us butane and propane-powered units. Ben & Jerry's, owned by Unilever, is the first.
The company has permission to test 2,000 of them, and, depending on EPA approval, could roll out 100,000 or more over the next decade.
Greenpeace, which is behind the effort to get companies to switch, is also working with Coca-Cola, McDonald's and others to get the machines installed in supermarkets, restaurants and convenience stores.