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Home » AREA joins Europe-wide campaign against illegal HFCs

AREA joins Europe-wide campaign against illegal HFCs

Hundreds of organisations across Europe’s cooling sector have pledged to build market awareness of the dangers of the illegal refrigerant trade that could threaten F-Gas regulation targets if unchecked.

Cooling industry bodies across Europe have pledged their support to a campaign to do more to question and build awareness of the trade of black-market refrigerant.

Companies including Chemours, Honeywell and Arkema and training specialists such as the Centro Studio Galileo have all pledged to end the illegal refrigeration trade in Europe by raising awareness about the scale of the problem.

AREA, the European association of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump (RACHP) contractors, said it was among more than 200 organisations to commit to promoting methods to better combat illegal trade in refrigerant and understand the core signs of black-market HFCs.

The organisation said, “We will work within our network to promote the sourcing of HFCs only from reliable and legal sources so consumers can use products and services with confidence.”

Experts and trade groups have been warning for several years that the scale of illegal trade for HFCs in Europe poses a significant risk to key environmental legislation such as F-Gas.

AREA said it estimated that black-market refrigerant currently on the EU market was equivalent to 34 million tonnes of CO₂ or an additional 33% of the total F-Gas quota currently allowed in Europe. It added, “That is the equivalent of adding 25 million cars to EU roads – the total number of cars in Spain.”

AREA claimed that criminal organisations are making vast profits from selling and expanding the amount of HFCs being sold across Europe in a way that directly contravenes quotas introduced under F-Gas regulation that continue to be reduced.

As part of an industry-wide focus, the European FluoroCarbons Technical Committee (EFCTC) has published new advice and guidance about ensuring that refrigerant is purchased from a reliable source.

Important considerations in doing this include checking who a seller is and where they have procured the gas.  Specialists are also asked to avoid cash transactions and get a VAT receipt for any refrigerant purchase they make.

The EFCTC also noted that any buyer should avoid purchasing gas in disposable cylinders that are illegal in Europe. A purchase should not be made with any seller failing to ask fort a deposit on a cylinder, the guidance added.

Caution is also urged around buying refrigerants online amidst concerns about the challenges in regulating sellers that make use of online marketplace sites.

The EFCTC added, “Research has shown that the majority of illegal HFCs is traded online. Do not buy refrigerants if you are not sure who you are buying from.”

Concerns about suspicious or illegal sales of refrigerant can also be raised via the anonymous Action Line reporting service.