There is no way that refrigerant reclamation can work the way the EPA has mishandled the program during the past few years. Businesses must be able to make money, or they will fail. Refrigerant reclaim is a business that is being hindered by government actions, or the lack of more appropriate actions. Given the current regulatory environment, refrigerant reclaim companies may as well "Shake it like a Polaroid picture!" The ability of reclaim companies to move the needle forward is quickly disappearing. It's going the way of Kodachrome. However, unlike the ascent of digital cameras and Smartphones that have nearly obviated film, there is no new approach that is better for the reclamation process. It's fairly simple: Bring in the old stuff, clean it up, and send it back out. For refrigerant reclamation to be successful only the regulatory environment has to be changed. Even with the recent allocation reduction schedule, and the likelihood that R-22 prices will rise and encourage reclamation — it is still not enough to move the already critically damaged reclamation industry.
Why such negativity from an otherwise happy-go-lucky, Pollyanna, arm chair quarterback? To some, the EPA appears to be either inept or corrupt in its treatment of the reclamation industry. I much prefer to believe that a variety of governmental agencies simply don't know that their unilateral actions are impeding each other in the attainment of individual department/agency goals. In other words, the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. For Your Consideration: Less than 10 percent of refrigerant is coming back for reclaim, 80 percent or more is being illegally vented. The EPA, even while exceeding its powers and congressional intent, is still missing the reclamation mark. It needs to think about how businesses are run and mandate activity that changes behavior and incents the reclamation process. That means technicians must be required to report jobsite activity to ensure that venting stops. Employers (contractors) must be accountable for inventory out and inventory back in. That is how recovery should be measured.