Right: Darren Patterson.

New Zealand’s refrigerant industry is tackling one of the most insidious causes of climate change—refrigerant gases. Perfluorocarbons (PFC) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) are rated among the most effective at trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere; thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide with respect to their global warming potential. Alongside this, said Darren Patterson, sustainability expert, the combined widespread of their use makes them a high priority target for tackling climate change worldwide.

As a part of the recently undertaken project to reduce and address this problem, a Working Group has been established to represent the interests of the key industries affected by a priority product declaration, including refrigeration and air conditioning, the motor vehicle industry, refrigerant wholesalers, manufacturers and distributors and other significant industry stakeholders. The undertaking of this project is being managed by stewardship specialists, 3R Group.

Patterson, the project manager of the work, said that this would see producers, retailers, and importers, taking responsibility for their products to ensure that they are being reused, recycled and/or properly disposed of at the end of life. Furthermore, New Zealand’s Government will soon be phasing out HFCs, something it hopes to accomplish with the cessation of their import in 2036.

Although there have been mixed reactions and hesitation from parts of the refrigeration industry, Patterson believes its crucial that everyone bands together. “It’s vital we have all the players involved to make the scheme as effective as possible. A co-regulatory scheme ‘levels the playing field’ as all companies would be required to participate,” said Patterson.