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Home Depot Launches Green Label Program, Gives Away 1 Million CFLs

Home Depot has launched Eco Options, a program that identifies products that have less of an impact on the environment.

As part of its Eco Options launch, Home Depot says it will give away 1 million CFL bulbs at its stores on Earth Day, April 22, and will launch an interactive Web site dedicated to the program.

Home Depot has identified more than 2,500 Eco Options products, including all-natural insect repellents, cellulose insulation, front-load washing machines, organic plant food and vegetables in biodegradable pots. The wide array of Eco Options also includes compact fluorescent light bulbs, programmable thermostats and certified wood.

Home Depot says that as it works with vendors and independent experts, the Eco Options line will be expanded.

With the CFL giveaway, Home Depot steps into the retail CFL debate which, until now, has usually centered around Wal-Mart’s goal of selling 100 million of the bulbs by next year.

Wal-Mart, at one point, reached out to Home Depot and Lowe’s hoping for cooperation on reaching that goal. A New York Times article quoted Ron Jarvis, the vice president of environmental innovation at Home Depot, as having said, “We don’t think we need an organization like that to sell more CFLs.”

In its release, Home Depot says it’s the market leader in CFL sales, with more than 50 million CFL bulbs sold in 2006

Last month, Wal-Mart announced that it would assess the sustainability of the electronics it sells, in a labeling program similiar to Home Depot’s. With its program, Wal-Mart hopes to affect its huge supplier base.

The same is true of Home Depot, whose executives said that as the world’s largest buyer of construction material, their company had the power to persuade thousands of suppliers, home builders and consumers to follow its lead on environment sustainability. “Who in the world has a chance to have a bigger impact on this sector than Home Depot?”  Jarvis said in a New York Times story.

Suppliers that qualify for the Eco Options label will be rewarded with what preferential treatment such as prominent shelf space in the nearly 2,000 Home Depot stores in the U.S. and aggressive marketing through weekly newspaper inserts, The Times reports.

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