The best methods for recycling refrigerant require an explanation of what refrigerant is and its role in the cooling cycle of refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners and other appliances. Refrigerants are compounds used in cooling that are boiled from liquid to gas then condensed back to liquid.Many of those compounds were discovered to be major contributors to ozone depletion. Since the Montreal Protocol, countries all over the world are agreeing to phase out toxic refrigerants and other hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) with natural, environmentally friendly compounds.
The U.S. incorporated the Montreal Protocol by establishing the Clean Air Act (Title VI), which is enforced through the Environmental Protection Agency. Although no mandatory agreements exist internationally, the Kyoto Protocol is aiming toward phasing out use and production of HCFCs. The United Nations climate change conferences offer opportunities for world leaders to discuss phaseout of ozone-depleting chemicals as well.
Homeowners and heating, venting and air conditioning (HVAC) businesses and their employees, are responsible for proper use of refrigerant. Technicians must be certified to even purchase refrigerants. In the past, the compounds were vented into the air during service calls or installation. Current EPA regulations now require special equipment to carry out the best methods for recycling refrigerant.