Illegal trade in ODS

Some recent facts show the difficulty to tackle the illegal disposal of CFC appliances and CFCs and HCFCs trading issues: - The German business magazine Capital divulged that CFC-containing refrigeration appliances were discovered in two car shredder plants in Germany and estimated that these are not isolated cases. Capital also uncovered evidence of the illegal export of waste fridges and freezers containing CFCs outside Europe. According to RAL Quality Assurance Association, more than 3 million tonnes of CO2 are being released each year from waste appliances that do find their way to dedicated fridge recycling plants but are not always being treated using the best available technology. Although CFCs are banned in Europe since October 2000, it is estimated that 230 million CFC-charged domestic refrigerators and freezers are still in service in EU countries. Recovering CFCs before disposal has been mandatory since 2006 and concerns CFC refrigerants but also CFC-11 which was used as a blowing agents in insulating foams. A major difficulty in depollution of old appliances in recycling units is that more recent appliances use cyclopentane in insulating foams which is flammable and explosive when mixed with oxygen. Moreover, CFCs and cyclopentanes need different treatment processes and may both be present in many appliances. It is important to note that a draft EU Directive under discussion considers illegal conducts seriously damaging the environment - such as disposal of waste and manufacturing and disposal of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) - as crimes in all Member states. - In the US, the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy (ARAP) "cautioned industry and the public to be certain that their HCFC refrigerant purchases are legal and to refuse to buy illegally imported refrigerants. The warning came as reports are beginning to surface that illegal HCFC imports may be on the rise, in response to apparent demand for the product to service air-conditioning equipment".4 ARAP emphasizes that "persons involved in the illegal trade of HCFCs are subject to both civil and criminal penalties". Fines of USD 32,500 per kg can be imposed.