Why Is the RMC Program Important

The Earth's ozone layer protects the planet from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) from the sun. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), a family of human-made chemicals historically used in air conditioners, refrigerators, foams, solvents, and other products, are a leading cause of ozone depletion.

CFCs and HCFCs do not break down in the lower atmosphere. When released, they drift up into the stratosphere, are broken down by ultraviolet radiation and ultimately release chlorine that destroys stratospheric ozone.

Since 1985, actions have been taken by the international community to reduce – and ultimately eliminate – the amount of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) released into the atmosphere. Production and importation of CFCs in Canada and other industrialized nations was eliminated in 1995. The production and consumption of HCFCs, under the terms of the Montreal Protocol, will be phased out in industrialized nations over the next three decades.

The Montreal Protocol

The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to eliminate and/or drastically reduce over 100 known ozone depleting substances (ODS). The program requires all participating nations to report annual production of the listed chemicals. In addition, the import and export of such materials are also monitored. The Protocol is the first environmental agreement to achieve universal participation by 196 parties. The focus is now switching from the original gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), to their replacement gases known as Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). In 2007, governments agreed to accelerate the freeze and phase-out HCFCs, explicitly for their climate change impacts. The focus is now shifting to HFCs. Rapid action to freeze and to cut emissions annually — alongside fostering readily available alternatives — could see HFC emissions fall to under one gigatonne by 2050.

The challenge for Canada is to eliminate the use of CFCs and eventually HCFCs and to ensure the current inventory is safely recaptured and disposed of in an environmentally acceptable manner.

Ozone depleting refrigerants are used in large air conditioning systems and commercial refrigeration systems (like those found in supermarkets). Industries using ozone-depleting refrigerants must take responsibility for managing the disposal of their surplus stocks.

In response to this environmental challenge, Refrigerant Management Canada (RMC) was established as an Extended Producer Responsibility Organization (EPRO) with the goal of providing an environmentally acceptable solution for the disposal of ozone-depleting refrigerants.

Refrigerant Management Canada is a partnership between manufacturers, importers, reclaimers, contractors and wholesalers in the Canadian refrigeration and air conditioning industry. The RMC program is strongly supported by Environment Canada at the Federal government level, the Provincial ministries of the environment, as well as Friends of the Earth Canada.

How Can I Do My Part?

"As a founding member of the program, I've always felt industry needed to take a leadership role in environmental preservation. RMC and our Service Providers have made our involvement in the program easy as they are always very accessible, supportive and accommodating when dealing with any issues we've had".
~ Tom Boutette, Boutette & Barnett Trade Distribution

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