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F-gas revision to ensure cylinder return

EUROPE: Refrigerant sellers will need to provide evidence of their arrangements for the return of cylinders for refilling under the F-gas revision proposals.

The latest proposals, which will be the subject of a European parliament vote at the end of this month, includes a provision to ensure that so-called “refillable” cylinders are not being discarded. When placing refillable containers on the market, undertakings would be required to produce a declaration of conformity including evidence of the arrangements for the return of the cylinders for refilling.

Those arrangements would contain binding obligations for the supplier of the cylinders to the end-user to comply with the arrangements.

The declaration of conformity would be required to be kept for at least five years and made available, on request, to the competent authorities of member states and the Commission. 

Despite disposable (non-refillable) cylinders having been banned in the EU since 2007, they became the container of choice for the black marketeers illegally importing refrigerant in contravention of the current F-gas regulation. 

Article 2 (13) of the current regulation defines a non-refillable container as a “container which cannot be refilled without being adapted for that purpose or is placed on the market without provision having been made for its return for refilling”.

A belated clampdown by the authorities in EU member states eventually stemmed the flow of gas in illegal disposables, but many illegal operators merely switched to using ”refillable” cylinders. However, no provision was made for their refilling, so they effectively became disposables.

Disposable cylinders were originally banned due to the “heel” of refrigerant that inevitably remains behind in an “empty” cylinder. It is estimated that the vapour and liquid heel could represent as much as 10% of the original refrigerant charge – all of which could inevitably be released to atmosphere.

The Cooling Post first alerted the authorities to the illegal practice in 2019. The new proposals are one of a number of new initiatives in the amendments to counter the illegal trade.

Related stories:

Rise of the disposable “refillable”23 January 2019
EUROPE: A clampdown on the supply of refrigerant in illegal disposable cylinders has created a new illicit market in refrigerant being sold in refillable cylinders. Read more…

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