Our work: Synthetic refrigerant co-design project
Aim: To examine ways to extend the ability of Recovery’s voluntary product stewardship programme to avoid environmental harm from ozone depleting gases.
Synthetic refrigerants are widely used in the heating and cooling systems we all rely on. They’re used in equipment used to keep our homes comfortable right up to large scale food manufacturing operations that keep our food safe. But they can cause significant environmental harm by contributing to climate change if they are not managed, collected and disposed of properly.
The Trust for the Destruction of Synthetic Refrigerants (Recovery), has been operating a voluntary product stewardship scheme to manage these gases since 1993. But end-of-life refrigerant disposal is growing and is forecast to continue growing.
Recovery engaged 3R Group on behalf of stakeholders as a project manager. The goal was to develop industry best practice to minimise harm and a fully funded disposal path to meet the changing nature of refrigerant gases.
What did we do?
- We established a co-design working group with government and industry
- Set out project milestones to make sure the group had momentum and accountability
- We prepared and carried out a consultation plan to ensure stakeholders had a say
- Conducted data collection, situational and GAP analyses
- Engaged with IRHACE to scope training course outline
- Identified the options for mandatory product stewardship
- Provided advice on the preferred options for mandatory stewardship
How did we do it?
- We provided expert advice in product stewardship
- Facilitated technical discussions across the industry in order to design a regulated scheme for an intangible product with unique challenges
- We supported Recovery in their funding submission
- We gathered the right information to inform decisions of the working group
- Used our deep knowledge of mandatory product stewardship to help the group decide the best course of action
Where to next
Refrigerants, other synthetic greenhouse gases and products containing them were declared a priority product by government in 2020. This requires them to be effectively managed under an accredited product stewardship scheme with mandatory participation.
3R are working together with Recovery on the application to have the industry co-designed scheme accredited as the regulated product stewardship scheme under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008.
If you’re an importer, manufacturer, retailer, installer, technician, or commercial user of refrigerant gases, we invite you to get involved.