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Recover, Reclaim, Reuse – The Coolest Way to Manage Refrigerants - EIA US

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This week, Washington State held a hearing on HB 2401, a first-in-the-nation bill on recovery, reclamation, and reuse of refrigerants. Sponsored by State Representative Davina Duerr and Environment & Energy Committee Chair Beth Doglio, this bill provides the missing link—a “bounty” payment to incentivize technicians to recover refrigerants instead of venting them.


Refrigerants are essential for our economy and well-being. Our food supply depends on refrigeration at every stage of the “cold chain” to safely bring perishable food to the supermarket. Refrigerants are made to absorb and transfer heat. In your home and in supermarkets, refrigerators absorb heat and transport it to the outside, keeping food cold. In your home, your air conditioner (AC) or heat pump does the same thing: Refrigerants inside your AC or heat pump absorb heat from the outside and bring it inside to heat the house, and the other way around to cool the house.

Ironically, the things that keep us cool are also warming us up. Most of the refrigerants used today are among the worst offenders when it comes to global warming. Fluorinated refrigerant gases are used in our ACs, heat pumps, and supermarkets—most of them, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)—and they are 2,000 to 4,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) in warming the planet, if released into the atmosphere.

The world has mobilized to tackle the threat from these super climate pollutants. Under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, 156 countries, including the United States, have agreed to an HFC phasedown, to stop producing and using these harmful gases. And we are switching to better alternatives in new equipment. However, we are still left with massive banks of HFCs and other fluorinated gases (collectively called “F-gases”) locked inside legacy equipment, where they remain a potential time bomb for the climate.



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