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Refrigerant buy-back scheme raises payments

NEW ZEALAND: A scheme promoting refrigerant recovery has significantly increased payments being made for the return for disposal of waste F-gases.

The New Zealand company Cool-Safe is increasing Bounty Buy-Back payments from NZ$25.00 (€14.00) per kg to NZ$40.00 (€22) per kg for recovered synthetic refrigerants to help meet their target of 90% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from F-gas discharge by 2035.

Cool-Safe was the first organisation to offer bounty for waste refrigerant, with payments being as direct reinvestment into the sector for their efforts in reducing the environmental harm of F-gases. Cool-Safe has already paid NZ$1.3m (€730,000) and this increase in the per-kg payment for recovered refrigerant will see that reinvestment through bounty payments rise to an expected $1.6m+ (€898,000) per annum.  

The Cool-Safe scheme is run by the Trust for the Destruction of Synthetic Refrigerants, a charitable trust.

Cylinders containing recovered refrigerant are deposited by refrigeration professionals via an expanding collection network. This is said to have resulted in the avoidance of 39,800 tonnes of ozone depletion and reduced the build-up of greenhouse gases by 1,496,691 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.  

Starting off small with the first shipment sent to Australia after six years of collecting being just 9,000kg, the impact of the product stewardship programme Cool-Safe has grown, with over 110,000kg destroyed in the past two years. 

Cool-Safe is now funded through emissions and removals earnings in NZUs, the primary New Zealand unit of trade representing one metric tonne of CO2e. 

Cool-Swap, a free cylinder exchange programme, has helped alleviate the impacts of worldwide cylinder shortages on the local sector. Providing HVACR businesses with access to the appropriate equipment for recovery helps them avoid hefty fines of up to $50,000 under New Zealand’s Climate Change Response Act and Ozone Layer Protection Act regulations.

Cool-Safe has also established a new courier model for the collection of recovered refrigerants.

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