EPA Certified Refrigerant Reclaimers, the Law and Revenue

October 26, 2015

Here’s an interesting scenario: A medium sized contractor gets serious about reclamation and creates a revenue stream of $50,000 annually—and rising. It’s more than just possible, it’s happening.

Reclamation is good business and it’s the law, but you’ll want to make sure you trust whom you return your used refrigerants to.

Trust EPA Certified Reclaimers
Always work with an EPA certified reclaimer. The EPA Certified Reclaimer program ensures that refrigerant reclaimers are able to comply with federal regulations aimed at reducing emissions of ozone-depleting substances.

The EPA allows for refrigerant that has been recovered and/or recycled to be returned to the same system or other systems owned by the same person. However, if used refrigerant changes ownership, it must be reclaimed and brought up to AHRI-700 specification prior to resale.

Contractors and technicians who recover refrigerant have the option of returning their recovered refrigerant to a consolidator (such as a refrigerant manufacturer, supplier, wholesale distributor, or refrigerant recovery company) for packaging and preparation for reclamation, or in many cases directly to an EPA certified reclaimer.

Choose a reclaimer who is established, upfront about their payment process and who can prove to you that you are paid for all of the reclaimable refrigerant you send or drop off.

The Law
Venting refrigerants has long been illegal and the EPA is putting more effort into enforcement by making it easier to report illegal acts and by prosecuting, leading to heavy fines and even prison time. The EPA recently announced its plans to amend and expand section 608, the National Recycling and Emission Reduction Program in order to reduce ozone depleting compounds. It seeks to strengthen its enforcement of violations against the venting prohibition.

The Money
Contractors can drop off used refrigerants at suppliers, wholesalers or refrigerant recovery companies, however, not all of these may pay for your valuable used refrigerants. Check in advance to see if they pay for it and what the process is. Ask questions including:

  • Will they pay freight or pick up large quantities?
  • What is the market price they are paying?
  • How quickly will payment come?
  • Will I receive replacement cylinders?

Your recovered refrigerants are worth good money—your money.