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Dutch warn on illegal refrigerant

The European Commission insists that there is no evidence of any large scale illegal trade in refrigerants

NETHERLANDS: Refrigerant businesses in the Netherlands have joined the condemnation of the widespread abuse of the F-gas regulations through “alternative” sales outlets.

Refrigerant suppliers Uniechemie and Gasco have highlighted the problem in the Netherlands of refrigerant being sold in illegal disposable cylinders and widespread instances of theft.

Since March, the Cooling Post has been reporting instances from across Europe of flagrant abuses of the F-gas regulations and phase down. Increased prices and supply issues with the higher GWP HFC refrigerants has encouraged smuggling and illegal imports of gas in disposable cylinders, most likely outside of the quota system. Much of it is being sold through internet auction sites with vendors ignoring the requirements of only selling to F-gas registered individuals/companies.

In an email to customers, Uniechemie has warned that buying refrigerant from unrecognised sources also carries “great risks”. It reports that a batch of disposables offered for processing did not contain R134a. In the Dutch refrigeration magazine RCC K&L, Uniechemie manager Chris van der Lande revealed that tests showed that it contained mixtures of the CFC R12 and HCFC R22 – both of which are banned.

Uniechemie also warns that some of the refrigerant being offered may be stolen. The Cooling Post has reported incidents of large-scale thefts from German refrigerant suppliers Arthur Friedrichs and Westfalen. Uniechemie claims there have been similar incidents in the Netherlands.

“The prices of refrigerants with a high GWP are still very high, which makes it interesting for criminals,” he says in RCC K&L. “The result is that R134a gas cylinders have been stolen from many gas depots.”

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Banned R22 openly sold in disposables – 7 September 2018
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. Read more…

Poland swamped by illegal refrigerant
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Illegal refrigerant costs Greece €20m – 23 July 2018
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Cantas “shock” at illegal imports – 13 July 2018
TURKEY: Istanbul-based refrigerant supplier Cantas has reacted with shock to learn that its refrigerant is being imported into the UK in illegal non-refillable cylinders. Read more…

Government rejects F-gas concerns – 10 July 2018
UK: The UK government insists it will maintain the HFC phase down post-Brexit but has ignored claims that the Environment Agency does not have the adequate resources to tackle compliance. Read more…

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UK: The Environmental Audit Committee has expressed concern that the Environment Agency is under-resourced and failing to adequately investigate “large levels of non-compliance” with the F-gas regulations. Read more…

UK a hub for illegal refrigerant sales – 23 March 2018
UK: There are concerns that the UK has become a centre for sales of refrigerant in illegal disposable cylinders, a container which has been banned from use in Europe for over 10 years. Read more…

Phase down sparks rise in illegal sales – 21 March 2018
EUROPE: With the F-gas regulations beginning to bite and higher GWP refrigerants becoming expensive and scarce, evidence of illegal imports and sales is increasing. Read more…

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