Stationary Refrigeration Safe Disposal Requirements
EPA regulations (40 CFR Part 82, Subpart F) under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act include requirements for the safe disposal of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment. These requirements are designed to minimize refrigerant emissions when these appliances are disposed.
Disposal of Equipment Dismantled On-site
Refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment that is typically dismantled on-site before disposal (e.g., retail food refrigeration, central residential air conditioning, chillers, and industrial process refrigeration) must have refrigerant recovered in accordance with EPA's requirements for servicing prior to their disposal.
Disposal of Equipment that Enters the Waste Stream with the Refrigerant Charge Intact
Equipment that typically enters the waste stream with its refrigerant charge intact (e.g., motor vehicle air conditioners [MVACs], household refrigerators and freezers, and window unit air conditioners) are subject to special safe disposal requirements:
- The final person in the disposal chain (such as a scrap metal recycler or landfill owner) is responsible for ensuring that refrigerant is recovered from equipment before its final disposal.
- If the final person in the disposal chain accepts an appliance that no longer holds a refrigerant charge, that person is responsible for maintaining a signed statement from the person who dropped off the appliance. The signed statement must include the name and address of the person who recovered the refrigerant, and the date that the refrigerant was recovered. Alternatively, this could be a copy of a contract stating that the refrigerant will be removed prior to delivery.
- EPA does not mandate a sticker as a form of verification that the refrigerant has been removed prior to disposal. Such stickers do not relieve the final disposer of their responsibility to recover any remaining refrigerant in the appliance, unless the sticker consists of a signed statement that includes the name and address of the person who recovered the refrigerant, and the date that the refrigerant was recovered.
- Individuals removing refrigerant from small appliances, MVACs, and MVAC-like air conditioners, when preparing them for disposal, are not required to be certified technicians. However, the equipment used to recover refrigerant from appliances prior to their final disposal must meet the same performance standards as refrigerant recovery equipment used for servicing.
Note that starting January 1, 2018, persons involved in the final disposal of appliances no longer need to certify to their EPA Regional Office that they have obtained and are properly using EPA-certified refrigerant recovery equipment.