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HCFC Regulation Benefits Your Business and the Earth — Make Sure Your Suppliers Are On Board

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The year 2015 signals a major leap forward in the scheduled global elimination of hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which was mandated by the Montreal Protocol (implemented in the USA under Title VI of the Clean Air Act). To ensure that any products you purchase are in compliance, make sure that your suppliers and manufacturers don’t use HCFCs in their products.

What Are HCFCs And Why Are They Being Targeted For Elimination?

HCFCs are compounds that contain carbon, hydrogen, chlorine and fluorine, and were commonly used in industrial compounds such as refrigerants. HCFCs replaced CFCs which were even more damaging than HCFCs and were therefore phased out first under the treaty. By 2030 all HCFCs will be globally banned as well. When released into the atmosphere, HCFCs degrade and deplete the portion of the stratosphere referred to as the “ozone layer.” Ozone is a gas that protects the Earth from harmful UV rays that emanate from the sun. Without ozone in the atmosphere, virtually no living thing could survive on Earth.

What Does Title VI Of The Clean Air Act Mandate And What Is The Timeline?

Title VI. The Montreal Protocol is an agreement between 196 countries (including Canada, the United States, and the European Union) to discontinue all importation, production and use of HCFCs between 2004 and 2030. The elimination of HCFCs — which has been applied on a “worst goes first” schedule — is ongoing and in the United States takes place in the following phases:

2004: 35% reduction
2010: 75% reduction
2015: 90% reduction
2020: 99.5% reduction
2030: 100% elimination

The widespread, generational use of HCFCs directly contributed to the “ozone hole” over Antarctica. In the 1990s, regulations targeted the use of CFCs, which are the far more harmful first cousins of HCFCs. This cooperation between partner nations toward HCFC elimination is having a major impact on the battle to maintain the ozone layer. The hope is that Mother Nature will restore the ozone levels to their former levels by the year 2070.

But in order for it to work, businesses must participate, too. Ensuring that your suppliers don’t rely on HCFCs in their products or manufacturing processes means that you and your supply chain are prepared for the future phase-out, which steps up to a 90% reduction in 2015. Perhaps more importantly, it will also position your business as a responsible, conscientious steward of the environment.

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