If and when contractors step up their commitment to reclamation, they will find plenty of places ready to perform the process that brings questionable refrigerant back to ARI-700 purity standards. And contractors will also find plenty of incentives to do so.

The latest list of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified refrigerant reclaimers published in October 2011 named 55 companies — and those companies offer a range of incentives. While this resource guide is not all encompassing, it is intended to provide an overview of what’s happening in the reclaim sector.

Airgas Refrigerant Technologies

Services offered through: The wholesale network with its ReKlaim Program. Also offers direct buy-back for larger recovery service projects.

Refrigerants: All of the CFCs, HCFCs and the HFCs.

Procedures: The program incentivizes the customer/contractor to bring their used refrigerant to a wholesaler who is part of the ReKlaim network.

Costs: Typically, there will be no cost to a contractor. Rather they are paid for the used gas unless it was badly mixed with other refrigerants.

Incentives: Airgas is an EPA-certified reclaimer, offering a variety of reclamation choices such as clean-up and exchange. It also processes used gas quickly and provides payment within 30 days by either credit or check at the customer’s request.

Arkema Inc.

Services offered through: The Forane® Refrigerant Reclaim Program through Arkema’s wholesale network located throughout the United States.

Refrigerants: All HCFC, HFC, and CFC refrigerants. Halons are not accepted. Fluorocarbons from solvents or cleaning agents are not acceptable. Also, non-fluorocarbon refrigerants such as ammonia, methylene chloride, propane, ethane, or sulfur dioxide are not acceptable.

Procedures: First, contractors need to determine the amount of refrigerant they are recovering, so they can determine the size and number of cylinders to use. Next, they determine the pressure rating of the cylinder based on the refrigerant type to be recovered. All recovery cylinders are empty, clean, and evacuated. They are painted gray with a yellow top. Contractors should check that the expiration date of the cylinder is far enough ahead that it will give them time to perform recovery and return the cylinder. Cylinders must not be dented, corroded, or show signs of damage that may make them unsuitable for the job.

Costs and incentives: Local distributor can be contacted for details about their specific reclaim program.

Consolidated Refrigerant Solutions

Services offered through: Consolidated Refrigerant Solutions delivers its services on a regional basis (Northeastern United States) directly to HVACR contractors.

Refrigerants: All refrigerants for reclaim.

Procedures: The truck goes to contractors’ shops and picks up and exchanges their 50-pound cylinders. There is no need for in-house consolidation or emptying cylinders. The truck is in one region one day per week. Cylinders are processed at the Consolidated Refrigerant Solutions facility, and within 48 hours their data and payout credit is available to view online.

Costs: There is no invoice for the contractor; Consolidated buys back their refrigerant. However, if refrigerants are grossly mixed, a disposal fee may be applied and is deducted from the credit/payout. There are no billed transactions unless the client purchases refrigerant.

Incentives: Buyback of used refrigerant, centralized EPA recordkeeping, free cylinder maintenance/recertification, and availability of product.

DuPont Refrigerant Reclaim Centers

Services offered through: The network of DuPont Authorized Refrigerant Reclaim Centers.

Refrigerants: Recovered refrigerant for all refrigerants that DuPont manufactures including HCFCs, HFCs, and CFCs.

Procedures: Obtain a recovery cylinder (various sizes) from a reclaim center; evacuate refrigerant from a system into the appropriate pressure rated cylinder (but do not mix refrigerant types into the same recovery cylinder), return the filled recovery cylinder back to the reclaim center, and swap or exchange for an empty recovery cylinder for the next job.

Costs: Costs vary by distributor reclaim center. Possible costs could include handling or cylinder swap fee and mixed refrigerant fee for low purity refrigerant. These costs can be offset by incentive-based programs, especially as the value of recovered R-22 increases.

Incentives: Programs vary by distributor reclaim center. Incentives may include buyback credit for the recovered R-22, banking program that provides access to additional pounds of R-22 at a reduced cost, no disposal fee for mixed R-22 empty cylinder exchange, and loyalty programs with volume incentives.

Golden Refrigerant

Services offered through: Primarily to wholesalers who are looking to provide a complete recovered refrigerant solution to their contractor customers.

Refrigerants: All of the fluorocarbon refrigerants.

Procedures: A technician will usually exchange his cylinder containing recovered refrigerant with a comparably sized, empty, reconditioned cylinder when he is visiting the supply house to take care of his other parts needs.

Costs: The costs are up to the wholesaler. Many, but not all, charge a per cylinder convenience fee for the swap. The swap fee covers any transportation costs, cylinder maintenance or recertification, and the disposal of any mixed refrigerants.

Incentives: This is up to the individual wholesaler. Several wholesalers are offering a credit to contractors for R-22 and other refrigerants. The wholesaler will apply an ID label with a customer ID code to each cylinder turned in and once the cylinder is processed, a per pound credit is generated for the contractor.

Honeywell Fluorine Products

Services offered through: Honeywell’s Generations® Reclaim program is offered through the wholesale network.

Refrigerants: A complete range of CFC, HCFC, and HFC refrigerants.

Procedures: The contractor returns the recovered refrigerant to a Honeywell’s Generations® Reclaim wholesale location. The wholesale partner will ensure that the recovered refrigerant reaches Honeywell for reclamation.

Hudson Technologies

Services offered through: The existing wholesaler network.

Refrigerants: All refrigerants.

Procedures: The contractor drops off the recovered refrigerant at the wholesaler branch. Each wholesaler offers an economic arrangement for the recovered refrigerant and will supply an empty recovery cylinder back to the contractor. The cylinders are consolidated by the wholesaler and sent to Hudson’s reclamation facility, which in turn processes the refrigerant and returns the empty cylinders back to the wholesaler.

Costs: Based on the current pricing dynamics, wholesalers are beginning to pay contractors for the recovered refrigerant.

Incentives: Hudson provides many incentives for the wholesaler.

National Refrigerants Inc.

Services offered through: Typically, National Refrigerants Inc.’s Recovered Refrigerant Program utilizes more than 500 wholesale distribution locations. However, if a customer has any special requirements that cannot be accommodated by their closest authorized wholesaler, National will work with them to accommodate their recovered refrigerant management needs.

Refrigerants: All fluorocarbon refrigerants, including low-temperature refrigerants such as R-508B and R-23.

Procedures: Contractors use either an NRI recovery cylinder or their own to return recovered refrigerant. Upon return of the cylinder(s) to the authorized wholesaler, they will receive a receipt documenting the type of refrigerant, cylinder and estimated quantity of recovered refrigerant. The wholesaler will return the cylinder(s) to National’s plant where it is received, weighed, and analyzed to verify conformance to National’s Recovered Refrigerant Acceptance Specifications.

Costs: There is no upfront cost to return recovered refrigerant. However, a fee may be charged by the wholesaler for the use of the recovery cylinder. National does offer a one-time use recovery cylinder (EZ One Shot) for purchase that is suitable for the recovery or storage of all refrigerants including R-410A. National pays the freight for all used refrigerant returned through an authorized wholesaler.

Incentives: National offers a flexible Reclaimed Refrigerant Banking Program where customers can retain ownership of their refrigerant assets while managing their deposits and withdrawals in the locations required.

Refri-Claim Services

Services offered through: Strictly through the wholesale distribution channel.

Refrigerants: All standard refrigerants.

Procedures: Refri-Claim™ participants can swap their full cylinder of recovered gas for an empty, clean, operable, and DOT-certified cylinder at any participating distributor locations. A cylinder tag will be generated and the transaction will be recorded for future inquiries or reporting needs. Swap fees are determined strictly by each distributor and vary.

Incentives: Computer generated activity tracking reports – know what you returned, how much you returned, when you returned it, and over any date range specified. All other monetary incentives are at the discretion of the distributor. No charge backs.

RemTec International

Services offered through: Both wholesale distributors and large mechanical contractors.

Refrigerants: All types of CFCs, HFCs, HCFCs, and halons. If RemTec is unable to reclaim the refrigerant back to ARI-700 standards for re-sale, it destroys the refrigerants using its patented Plasma Arc Destruction facility.

Procedures: Call RemTec at 419-867-8990 or toll free at 888-873-6832 for the nearest Buy Back Partner location. If it does not have one in your area, RemTec will work with you directly. Minimum amounts of R-22 required for direct pick up. 

Costs: The program covers freight both ways with minimum pick up allowance. RemTec has a two-tier pay system from 98-99.5 percent and then from 95-97 percent and no charge for mixed refrigerants with a minimum of 100 lbs of good R-22.

Incentives: RemTec’s program allows for banking and exchange of R-22 with purchases of other refrigerants from the company. It currently has an additional promo going on through the end of the month (April 2012) on CFCs such as R-11 and R-12. 

USA Refrigerants

Services offered through: USA Refrigerants services HVAC contractors directly nationwide through its R-22 buy-back program.

Refrigerants: R-11, -22, -12, -113, -114, -123, -134a, -404A, -410A, -500 and -502.

Procedures: Contractors consolidate their jobsite 30- and 50-pound recovered refrigerants into a USA Refrigerants cylinder. USA Refrigerants provides the cylinders; pays all freight expenses to and from its three EPA-certified reclamation partners in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Texas; handles all logistics; and offers cash or credit buy-back options to purchase virgin refrigerant.

Costs: There is a one-time, fully refundable cylinder deposit of $750. There are no other costs. USA Refrigerants provides the cylinder, pays all freight, and handles all logistics.

Incentives: Buy-back prices move up or down with refrigerant pricing. As of March 9, 2012, the cash buyback price was $3/pound on R-22; credit was $4/pound on R-22. Oil, water, and burnt refrigerant are accepted. USA Refrigerants also pays up to $2.25 for mixed R-22.

Publication date: 04/02/2012