POLAND: The Cooling Post has found that illegal ozone-depleting R22 refrigerant is being openly sold in illegal disposable cylinders in Poland under the very noses of the authorities.

In recent weeks, the Cooling Post has highlighted the huge amount of refrigerant being sold, quite openly, on the internet. Much of this is in disposable cylinders (which have been banned since 2007), possibly imported without quota, and without any assurance that the refrigerant is only to be sold to F-gas certified personnel/companies.

Apart from being in clear breach of European regulations, there have also been concerns and evidence that some of these cylinders may actually contain potentially dangerous mixtures of gases rather than the specified refrigerant.

Now the Cooling Post has discovered hoards of gas in illegal disposable cylinders being openly sold on the Polish classified website OLX, some of it, supposedly, virgin R22 which has been banned since 2010.

Images posted by vendors on the Polish website OLX suggests that the trade in illegal disposables is far from insignificant

The Polish refrigerant distributors association PROZON has previously highlighted the problems its country faces with a massive and growing problem of HFC smuggling and sales of refrigerant in disposable cylinders over the internet.

Sources at the association have reported that it has had some recent success in getting the illegal product removed from Poland’s  Allegro and Sprzedajemy websites, but OLX has so far ignored all communication.

Checks by the Cooling Post on the OLX website today revealed nearly 150 adverts for refrigerant, apparently being sold in illegal disposable cylinders. Amazingly, some of this included ozone-depleting R22. 

Meanwhile, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG Clima), the department responsible for implementing the F-gas regulations, continues to ignore the enormity of the problem, despite this illegal activity being carried out under the very noses of the authorities.

In addition to R22, a broad range of refrigerant is being offered on the OLX website in illegal cylinders, including R134a, R507A, R404A, R410A and R407C at prices of around €150 to €250. And, despite DG Clima playing down the size of the problem, some sellers obviously have access to large quantities of the gas. One seller in particular said that the gas was available in any volume but he/she was not interested in orders of fewer than 20 cylinders. In none of the adverts was the F-gas regulation even mentioned.

OLX Group is a global online marketplace, headquartered in Amsterdam, and owned by South African media and technology group Naspers. It operates in a number of countries and claims to be the largest online classified ads company in Pakistan, Brazil, India, Bulgaria, Poland, Portugal and Ukraine.

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