United States
                                                                                             Environmental Protection
Construction  and  Demolition
How to Properly Dispose of Refrigeration  and Air-Conditioning Equipment
Whether you are on the job at a construction/demolition
site or at a demolition scrapyard or recycling facility, you are
likely to encounter refrigeration and air-conditioning (AC)
equipment.  Refrigeration/AC equipment has historically
used refrigerants and/or insulating foam,
such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and
hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which
deplete the  stratospheric ozone layer
and contribute to global climate change.
Newer refrigeration/AC equipment is likely
to contain hydrofluorocarbons (MFCs), which are used as
ozone-friendly substitutes for CFCs and HCFCs but still
contribute to climate change. The types of CFC, HCFC,
and HFC refrigerants commonly used in refrigeration/AC
equipment are shown in Box 1.

This factsheet outlines the requirements established by
the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding
refrigerants, as well as tips on best practices for handling
refrigerants  and foams, to ensure that emissions of
ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and their substitutes
are minimized during the disposal  of
refrigeration/AC equipment by companies
in the demolition/recycling industry.

What is Required by Law?
Under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA has
established regulations (40 CFR Part 82, Subparts A and
F) that are relevant to the disposal of refrigeration/AC
equipment.  These regulations specify:

1. A prohibition on intentionally
   venting ODS refrigerants and ODS
   substitutes  into the atmosphere
   while  disposing of refrigeration/AC
2. Certification requirements for refrigerant recovery
   equipment, as well as refrigerant evacuation
   requirements, to maximize recovery of ODS during the
   disposal of refrigeration/AC equipment;
3. Certification requirements for technicians disposing of
   refrigeration/AC equipment, excluding small appliances
   (see Box 4 on page 3);
   Box 1. What Types of Refrigerants Are Typically Contained
   in Refrigeration/AC Equipment in the U.S.?

   The refrigerants commonly found in refrigeration/AC equipment, as
   well as their approximate charge sizes, are listed in the table below.
   Actual equipment charge size varies based on equipment type
   and model. As shown, a household refrigerator typically contains
   0.5 pounds of refrigerant, while a building chiller may contain over
   1,000 pounds.

   Typical Refrigerants and Charge Sizes Commonly Used in Refrigeration/AC
Equipment Type
Cold Storage
Commercial Refrigeration
Domestic Refrigerators &
Ice Makers
Industrial Refrigeration
Unitary AC
Window AC
Common Refrigerants
CFC-11, CFC-12, HCFC-22, HCFC-
123, HFC-134a, R-407C"
CFC-12, R-502*, HCFC-22, R-404A
CFC-12, HCFC-22, R-404A,
HCFC-22, HFC-134a
CFC-12, HFC-134a
CFC-12, HFC-134a
CFC-11, CFC-12, HCFC-22, HCFC-
123, HFC-134a, R-404A"
HCFC-22, R-410A"
HCFC-22, R-410A
HCFC-22, R-407C/410A
Charge Sizes (Ib)
0.017 - 0.019/ft2
1,320 - 1,980
   •Refrigerant blend containing HCFC-22 and CFC-115
   ** HFC blend
4.  Safe disposal requirements for small appliances to
   ensure removal of refrigerants from goods that enter the
   waste stream with the refrigerant charge intact;
5.  Recordkeeping requirements for persons disposing of
   refrigeration/AC equipment to certify to EPA that they have
   acquired refrigerant recovery equipment and are complying
   with the rule; and

6.  Procedural requirements for sending refrigerant to a
   destruction or reclamation facility.

  Box 2. Why Shouldn't I Just Vent Refrigerant?

  1.  It's illegal;
  2.  It's harmful to the environment and human health; and
  3.  You can earn money by selling recovered refrigerant to an
     EPA-certified refrigerant reclaimer.

How Do I Recover Refrigerant?

Section 608 of the CM prohibits
individuals from intentionally venting
refrigerants into the atmosphere while
disposing of refrigeration/AC equipment.
"De minimis" quantities of refrigerant
released in the course  of making good
faith attempts to recapture and recycle
or safely dispose of refrigerant are not subject to this
prohibition (§ 82.154[a][2]).

To implement the venting prohibition, Section 608 specifies
evacuation level requirements (§ 82.156) and refrigerant
recovery equipment requirements (§ 82.158) for both small
appliances and other refrigeration/AC equipment.

Refrigerant Recovery Equipment Requirements
Persons involved in the disposal of refrigeration/AC
equipment must certify to their EPA Regional Office that
they have acquired (built, bought, or leased) and are
properly using refrigerant recovery equipment certified by
an EPA-approved equipment testing organization (see text
box below). A sample form is available at www.epa.gov/0zone/
title6/608/recoveryform.pdf. This certification must be signed
by the owner of the equipment  or another responsible

EPA-certified equipment meets the standards established in
§ 82.158 and is certified to be  able to recover refrigerant
from refrigeration/AC equipment according to the evacuation
levels specified in § 82.156. These regulations specify
evacuation levels for small appliances (§ 82.156[h]) and
other equipment (§ 82.156[a]), dependent on the type,
charge size, and date of manufacture of the equipment.
Box 3. EPA-Certified Recovery Equipment

EPA has approved two bodies to certify recycling and recovery
equipment: the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration
Institute (AHRI) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

Lists of certified equipment may be obtained by contacting ARI
at 703-524-8800 and UL at 708-272-8800 ext. 42371. Certified
equipment can be identified by a label reading: "This equipment
has been certified byARI/UL to meet EPA's minimum requirements
for recycling and/ or recovery equipment intended for use with
[appropriate category of appliance—e.g., HCFC appliances containing
less than 200 pounds of refrigerant, all high-pressure appliances,
Technician Certification Requirements
Technician certification is not required for individuals
removing refrigerant from small appliances when preparing
them for disposal. However, EPA certification is required
for technicians who perform disposal of all other types of
refrigeration/AC equipment (§ 82.161). EPA has developed
four types of certification, two of which are applicable to
technicians that dispose of refrigeration/AC equipment:
    Type II - For technicians dealing with high- or very high-
    pressure refrigeration/AC equipment (e.g., industrial
    process and cold storage equipment),1 except small
    appliances; and
    Type III - For technicians dealing with low-pressure
    refrigeration/AC  equipment (e.g., chillers).

To become certified  under the mandatory program,
technicians must pass an EPA-approved test given by an
EPA-approved certifying organization.  These certification
credentials do not expire.
    If no in-house certified technicians are available to
    perform refrigerant recovery from refrigeration/AC
    equipment other than small appliances at time of
    disposal, a company with certified technicians can
                        be hired.
How Do I Safely Dispose of Small Appliances?
Small appliances are subject to  special safe disposal
requirements (§  82.156[f]). Specifically, the final person
in the disposal chain (e.g., recycler or landfill operator) is
responsible to perform the following:
1.   Recover any  remaining refrigerant from the small
    appliance in  accordance with the evacuation
    requirements for small appliances (§ 82.156[h]); or
2.   Notify the suppliers of the small appliance(s) that the
    refrigerant must be  properly removed before delivery
    to the facility2; and verify3 that the refrigerant has
    been evacuated from the appliance or shipment of
    appliances previously.

What Records  Do I Need to Maintain?
Recordkeeping requirements have been established
for persons disposing of small appliances and all other
equipment (§ 82.166).

Small Appliances
Keep copies of signed statements collected  in accordance
with the Safe Disposal requirements on-site for at least
three years.

All Other Equipment
Keep copies of technician certification at the technician's
place of business.

What Should I  Do with Refrigerant Once it Has Been

Once refrigerant  is recovered, it may be destroyed, reclaimed
for resale, or stored safely to prevent emissions, as
illustrated in Figure 1.

If you choose to  send
recovered ODS refrigerant
for destruction, the
ODS shipment must be
sent to a destruction
facility which uses one
of the following destruction technologies (§ 82.3):  liquid
injection incineration, reactor cracking, gaseous/fume
oxidation, rotary kiln incineration, cement kiln, or radio
frequency plasma.

In addition, the ODS shipment must be sent to a destruction
facility that achieves a destruction efficiency (DE)4 of 98%,
as required under Title VI of the CAA; for ODS that are also
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous
wastes, the destruction facility must achieve a destruction
and removal efficiency5 (ORE) of 99.99%, as required by
RCRA and Title V of the Clean Air Act.

If you send recovered ODS  refrigerant for reclamation, the
ODS refrigerant shipment must be sent to an EPA-certified
refrigerant reclaimer. You can view a list at www.epa.gov/
                    Box 4. Definitions
                    Small Appliance
                    A small appliance is defined as any appliance that is fully
                    manufactured, charged, and hermetically sealed in a factory with five
                    pounds or less of a CFG or HCFC refrigerant, including the following:
                    •    Refrigerators and freezers (designed for home, commercial, or
                        consumer use);
                    •    Medical or industrial research refrigeration equipment;
                    •    Room air conditioners (including window air conditioners and
                        packaged terminal air heat pumps);
                    •    Under-the-counter ice makers;
                    •    Vending machines; and
                    •    Drinking water coolers.

                    All Other  Equipment
                    In this fact sheet, "all other equipment" refers to all appliances
                    except for small appliances, motor vehicle air conditioners (MVACs),
                    and  MVAC-like* appliances. Specifically, this equipment includes:
                    •    Industrial refrigeration equipment (not including research
                    •    Commercial refrigeration equipment; and
                    •    Cold storage equipment.
                    *An "MVAC-like appliance" has a refrigerant charge of 20 pounds or less and is used to cool the
                    driver's or passenger's compartment of an off-road motorvehicle.
                    Box 5. What Happens to the Environment When
                    Refrigerant or Blowing Agent is Released to the

                    ODS refrigerant and blowing agents (CFCs and HCFCs) deplete the
                    ozone  layer and contribute to climate change. Ozone layer depletion
                    allows more ultraviolet radiation, a human carcinogen, through our
                    ozone  layer, contributing to increased incidences of skin cancer,
                    immune suppression, eye damage, and other skin problems in the
                    general population. Climate change is associated with increased
                    extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and thawing permafrost,
                    among other major effects on the natural world. HFC blowing
                    agents, which are used as substitutes for CFCs and HCFCs in
                    newer  equipment, do not deplete the ozone layer, but are potent
                    greenhouse gases (GHGs).
                       Figure 1. Disposal Procedures for Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Equipment
           Identify refrigeration/
           AC equipment within
             home/building or
             recycling facility
Recover refrigerant
using EPA-certified
                                                                                               Send refrigerant to
                                                                                             EPA-certified reclaimer

Send refrigerant to permitted
    destruction facility
                                                                                             Safely store refrigerant

Going Beyond Requirements:
Recovering ODS Foams
ODS blowing agents are used in insulating foam contained in
commercial and domestic refrigerators and freezers, as well
as in buildings (e.g., roofs, walls, floors, pipes, and storage
tanks). Although not required by law, as a best practice,
ODS foam can be recovered from refrigerators and freezers
and buildings at time of demolition and sent for reclamation
or destruction.

Foam Recovery from
Although there is limited
experience to date in
recovering and destroying
foam insulation from buildings
in the U.S., ODS foam recovery
represents a significant
opportunity for reducing emissions of ODS and GHGs.
Technologies exist to recover ODS foam from buildings at
time of demolition and either (a) send it for destruction
(e.g., to a  municipal solid waste incinerator or waste-to-
energy boiler) or (b) send it for further processing to recover
the blowing agent from the foam matrix and ultimately
reclaim or destroy the concentrated blowing agent.6 The
ability to extract foam-containing elements from demolition
waste depends largely on the type and original form of
the foam  and how it was applied. Steel-faced sandwich
panels—used in wall and roof insulation and for cold
storage—and polyurethane boardstock foam—used in
wall, roof, and floor insulation—may represent the greatest
opportunities for ODS foam recovery and destruction.
Box 6. Where Would I Find ODS Foam in a Building?

ODS foam is commonly used in building roofs, walls, floors, pipes,
and storage tanks as insulation material. ODS blowing agents are
likely to be found in polyurethane (PU) rigid sandwich panels, PU and
polyisocyanurate (PIR) rigid boardstock, PU rigid spray foam, and
extruded polystyrene  (XPS) foam boards.
Foam Recovery from
Refrigerators and Freezers
CFC, HCFC, and HFC-containing
foam has generally been used
to insulate refrigerant-containing
appliances, such as household
and commercial refrigerators
and freezers. To avoid the
harmful release of ODS  and GHGs, insulating foam should
be removed from all parts of refrigerators and freezers
at time of equipment disposal. Foam can be recovered
from refrigerators and freezers either manually or through
a fully automated process. Several dedicated appliance
recycling facilities offer these types of foam removal and
processing services across the U.S.  In addition, EPA's
voluntary Responsible Appliance Disposal (RAD) Program,
designed to promote these types of best practices,
serves as a technical clearinghouse on the  development
and implementation of responsible appliance disposal
programs.  For more  information on appliance foam removal
and the RAD Program, visit www.epa.gov/ozone/parnerships/rad.

How Can I Report a Violation?

EPA performs random inspections,  responding to tips and
pursuing potential cases against violators. Under the CAA,
EPA is authorized to assess fines of up to $37,500 per day
for any violation of the regulations. Information on selected
enforcement actions is available on EPA's website.

If you suspect or witness unlawful releases of refrigerant or
other violations of the Clean Air Act regulations, you can file
a report easily and anonymously by visiting EPA's Office of
Enforcement and Compliance Assurance website at www.epa.

Where Can  I Find More Information?
For more information  concerning regulations  related to
stratospheric ozone protection visit:

1 See §82.152 for the definitions of high-, very high-, and low-pressure appliances.
2 The form of this notification may be warning signs, letters to suppliers, or other equivalent means.
3 Such verification consists of a signed statement from the person from whom the appliance(s) is obtained that all refrigerant had been recovered from the small appliance(s) in compliance with the
evacuation requirements for small appliances, as well as the name and address of the person who recovered the refrigerant and the date the refrigerant was recovered, or a contract that refrigerant will be
removed prior to delivery
4 DE is a measure of the comprehensiveness of destruction that includes emissions of undestroyed chemical from all points (e.g., stack gases, fly ash, scrubber, water, bottom ash).
5 ORE is a % that represents the number of molecules of a compound removed or destroyed in an incinerator relative to the number of molecules entering the system (e.g., a ORE of 99.99% means that
9,999 molecules are destroyed for every 10,000 that enter).
6 ODS sent for destruction must be sent to a destruction facility using an approved destruction technology as listed on page 3.
     United States
     Environmental Protection
                                                                                    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                                                                                    Stratospheric Protection Division (6205J)
                    February 2011