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Thailand destroys over 19 tonnes of illegal CFC refrigerants

USA/THAILAND: More than 19 tonnes of ozone-depleting CFC refrigerants seized by Thailand’s customs authority have been collected and destroyed by US company Tradewater.

Chicago-based Tradewater finds and collects potent greenhouse gases from all around the world to destroy them and prevent the environmental impact.

Destruction of the CFCs, which prevented the release of over 192,000 tonnes of CO2e, is the first of seven phases of the collaborative project between Tradewater, Thailand’s Customs Department, Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT), Bangpoo Environmental Complex (BPEC), Waste Management Siam (WMS), and the Department of Industrial Works (DIW). When completed, this public-private partnership is expected to permanently prevent over 1.14 million tonnes of CO2e from escaping into the atmosphere.

During the phase-down and after the eventual ban of CFCs, the Thailand Customs Department seized over 10,000 cylinders containing more than 120 tonnes of CFCs and stored them in 42 depots around the country.

In storage, these cylinders remained at risk of leaking into the atmosphere and the Customs Department sought an environmentally responsible solution.

“The Montreal Protocol was a significant step in the fight to protect our ozone layer. However, its focus on end-of-life solutions for the gases it addressed was limited, and there has been insufficient funding to help countries destroy these potent gases—making it very challenging for any remaining stockpiles to be properly disposed of,” said María José Gutiérrez Murray, Tradewater’s senior director of international programmes.

“While complex to coordinate, this project is a testament to the great things that can be accomplished when public and private stakeholders work together to solve a problem,” said Tradewater COO Gabe Plotkin. “The Thai stockpile is the largest that we have uncovered to date, and we are proud to provide a way to leverage the voluntary carbon credit market to ensure these refrigerants are safely and permanently destroyed.”

Tradewater expects to destroy all the refrigerants seized by the Thailand Customs Department by early 2024 and is one of several international projects Tradewater is currently overseeing.

In September last year, the Thailand Customs Department, and handed passed 10,080 cylinders of CFC refrigerant to Waste Management Siam for incineration at Bangpoo Environmental Complex.

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