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Banned R12 refrigerant found in illegal waste shipment

GERMANY: Cylinders of R12, the long-banned ozone-depleting CFC refrigerant, have been found by German police amongst a consignment of illegal waste bound for Nigeria.

The R12 was discovered after an Italian car transporter, laden with apparently scrapped vehicles, caught the attention of traffic police from Wörrstadt, near Mainz, on the A61 autobahn.

A subsequent inspection in a parking lot at nearby Sprendlingen found the vehicles padlocked, for which the 41-year-old driver from Naples claimed to have no keys. The shipping documents revealed that the cargo was to be shipped from Antwerp to Nigeria.

Breaking open the vehicles, the officials found the cylinders with the banned CFC-containing refrigerant R12 and broken old electrical appliances hiding behind scrap engines and car parts,

The cargo was seized and the environmental authorities, in agreement with Italy and Belgium, will decide on disposal. Criminal proceedings are being brought against the sender for illicit waste handling.

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