January 30, 2006

Industry program reports over 500,000kg of ODS destroyed

As of 2005, Refrigerant Management Canada (RMC), an industry stewardship program for the management of ozone-depleting substances (ODS), had reached a milestone with the destruction of over 500,000 kilograms (kg).

RMC was established in January 2001 to collect and destroy surplus ODS refrigerants from the stationary refrigeration and air conditioning industry. The program is a partnership between the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute (HRAI) and the industry.

Initially, only chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were collected, with destruction starting in January 2002. The beginning of 2004 saw the program expand to include hydrofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and HCFC blends.

The program is funded by a voluntary environmental levy paid by refrigerant manufacturers, importers and reclaimers on the sale of virgin and reclaimed HCFC refrigerants. RMC has just increased the levy for the first time in the program's five years of operation, from $1.00 to $1.50 per kg of ODS.

The year-to-year statistics confirm the success of the industry-led program: from a modest beginning of approximately 8,900 kg collected in its first year, quantities collected reached a height of just over 291,000 kg in 2004, dropping back to nearly 116,000 kg in 2005.

ODS destroyed totalled just over 18,000 kg in 2002, reaching a high of more than 336,000 in 2004, then declining to nearly 160,000 kg in 2005. Cumulative totals by the end of 2005 were 623,534 kg of ODS collected, with 554,025 kg destroyed.

The uniquely Canadian program is one of only a handful of similar initiatives and is being monitored by U.S. authorities who are considering setting up an RMC-type program. It is noteworthy that RMC has successfully handled almost the same quantities of ODS as a counterpart Australian program in operation for a full decade.

In July 2005, RMC received authorization under Environment Canada's Environmental Choice program to use the EcoLogo symbol.

Under the RMC program, contractors collect the surplus refrigerants and ship the captured material in cylinders to wholesalers. The wholesalers record the refrigerant information, store the waste and co-ordinate its transfer to collection service providers (CSPs).

Three companies are designated as CSPs: Fielding Chemical Technologies, in Mississauga, Ont; Protocol Resource Management, in Aurora, Ont; and Refrigerant Services, in Dartmouth, NS.

The CSPs are responsible for inspecting and testing the collected material and preparing it for safe transport to Canadian and U.S. disposal sites approved by RMC. These include the Earth Tech facility in Swan Hills, Alta, and two facilities operated by Onyx Environmental, in Port Arthur, Texas and Sauget, Illinois.

More information is available on the RMC Web site, www.hrai.ca/rmc.

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