Halogenated hydrocarbons (also called halocarbons) contribute to global warming (greenhouse effect) as well as, in certain cases, to the depletion of the ozone layer.
Environmental legislation provides for a gradual reduction in the use of these substances, starting with those causing damage to the ozone layer.
In this respect, businesses must request a permit from the Air/Noise Department (Division Air/Bruit) of the Environment Agency (Administration de l’environnement) for the recovery and transport of these substances.
Who is concerned
It is necessary to hold a specific authorisation if the business is carrying out the dismantling and transportation of:
- fixed or mobile fire extinguishing equipment;
- air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment, including household refrigerators and freezers;
- heat pumps;
- air dryers or dehumidifiers;
- insulating material, etc.
The authorisation procedure differs depending on the type of fluid recovered and/or transported (halons or CFCs).
The regulation aims at eliminating:
- halons previously used as extinguishing gas;
- as well as the halogenated fluids CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) and H-CFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) which were formerly used as refrigerating fluids and as a foaming agent in certain insulating materials in particular.
Fire protection systems and fire extinguishers containing halons should have been decommissioned before the end of 2003. Where this has not yet been carried out, halons must now be recovered for ecological destruction.
As far as the halogenated fluids are concerned:
- recharging equipment with CFC type fluids is not authorised since 1 January 1997;
- recharging equipment with virgin H-CFC fluids is no longer authorised since 1 January 2010;
- recharging equipment with any category of fluid (i.e. virgin, recycled or reclaimed) will be banned as from 1 January 2015.
While HFC fluids are not yet banned, their use is restricted by the law on classified establishments.
A specific recovery and transport permit for halogenated hydrocarbons may be granted for:
- the recovery of halons (Halon 1211 - CF2BrCl, Halon 1301 - CF3Br or Halon 2402 - C2F4Br2) and in particular:
- the dismantling of fire protection systems for the purpose of recovering the halons;
- the transportation of small quantities of halons (less than 300 litres per journey) from fixed installations from the place of dismantling to a temporary intermediate warehouse (warehouse in Luxembourg, intermediate storage prior to transfer to a disposal facility);
- the transportation of mobile extinguishers containing small quantities of halons (less than 300 litres per journey) from the place of use to a temporary intermediate warehouse (warehouse in Luxembourg, intermediate storage prior to transfer to a disposal facility);
- the recovery and transportation of halogenated coolants. In this case, no limit is set with regard to the quantities transported.
These permits do not release the businesses concerned from registering with the Waste Division (Division des déchets) of the Environment Agency (Administration de l’environnement) for the collection and transportation of waste produced by the business.
How to proceed
Submitting the application
Businesses must send an application for a halon recovery permit to the Air/Noise Department of the Environment Agency together with the following documents:
- a copy of the business permit;
- a recent extract from the Trade and Companies Register (Registre de commerce et des sociétés - RCS);
- a third-party liability insurance certificate covering accidental pollution;
- where applicable, an inspection certificate for air-conditioning and refrigeration systems.
Obligations associated with the permit
Businesses holding a permit must also:
- keep a detailed register of the substances handled;
- annually send a report detailing the substances handled to the Air/Noise Department of the Environment Agency.
Other types of authorisation shall be required for the recovery or transportation of larger quantities or for waste recycling:
- classified establishment operating permit in the case of the intermediate storage of more than 10kg of halogenated fluid or halons;
- waste collection and transportation permit on behalf of third parties;
- waste disposal or recovery on behalf of third parties.