The Montreal Protocol, a landmark global agreement designed to reduce and eventually eliminate chemicals identified as having potential to deplete the earth’s ozone layer, marked its 20th anniversary in September. To date, it has been ratified by more than 190 countries, including the United States, where it is implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Under the Montreal Protocol, substances with high-ozone depletion, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) such as R-12 and R-502, were phased out of manufacture and import Jan. 1, 1996. Other materials, including hydrochlorofluoro-carbons (HCFCs) such as R-22, have lower ozone-depletion potential and were scheduled for phaseout over a longer period of time.
As per the schedule, effective Jan. 1, 2003, HCFC production was capped at 65% of the original cap set under the U.S. Clean Air Act. The change had very little impact on retail operations, however, as the reduction was accomplished by eliminating the manufacture and import of a chemical used primarily to produce urethane foams, explained Kevin O’Shea, U.S. marketing manager, DuPont Refrigerants, Wilmington, Del., a business unit of DuPont.
The next phaseout step reduces the HCFC production cap to 35%, and will occur Jan. 1, 2010. (On Jan. 1, 2015, the HCFC cap will be reduced to 10% of the original cap, and on Jan. 1, 2020, the manufacture and import of R-22 will stop completely.) It is likely to be far more significant in terms of its retail impact, O’Shea explained, since it will be accomplished by the elimination of the manufacture and imports of R-22 for use in new equipment.
“Since the current service demand for R-22 is approximately 20% of the original cap, the 2015 reduction could have a drastic effect on R-22 users unless steps are taken to significantly reduce demand,” he said. O’Shea also noted that R-22 is still a dominant refrigerant in air conditioning, even in new equipment.
Chain Store Age spoke with O’Shea about the phaseout of HCFCs.
Chain Store Age: Will the retail industry be affected by this next phaseout step?
Kevin O’Shea: We have identified two ways in which the retail industry will b