Late in 2003 new legislation was passed by the Australian Parliament making it mandatory for the refrigeration and air conditioning industry to recover, return and safely dispose of ozone depleting and synthetic greenhouse gas refrigerants.
The Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act is national and overrides existing State and Territory requirements on ozone depleting refrigerants.
These laws means industry must handle HFCs, such as R134a and R404A, the same way it handles CFCs like R12 and HCFCs like R22.
There are new obligations for industry under the law:
- technicians need an Australia-wide competency-based licence to work on systems
- companies buying or selling refrigerants must be authorised and meet certain criteria
- recovery of ozone depleting and synthetic greenhouse gas refrigerants is compulsory
- avoidable venting of fluorocarbon refrigerants into the atmosphere is an offence
- sellers of ozone depleting and synthetic greenhouse gas refrigerants must accept recovered refrigerant back
- importers of ozone depleting and synthetic greenhouse gas refrigerants either as bulk or contained in equipment, must have an importers licence
Industry participants do not have to cover all the costs of recovery. Costs incurred recovering refrigerant from systems may be legitimately charged to customers, and RRA provides rebates for the return of recovered refrigerant by authorised companies and persons.