Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and fluorinated gases (F-gases) are chemicals that can cause significant harm to the environment by damaging the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere and contributing to climate change.
If your business uses or handles ODS or F-gases, or equipment that contains them, you must comply with controls on their supply and use.
Check if you need a permit
If you carry out certain chemical manufacturing or processing activities, you may need a pollution prevention and control permit from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. If you have a permit you must comply with its conditions, which may require you to control emissions to air such as levels of ODS - see chemical manufacturing environmental regulations.
Supply and use ODS correctly
Many ODS used previously in manufacturing chemicals or chemical products are banned or are being phased out, including:
- carbon tetrachloride and 1,1,1 trichloroethane - banned from supply and for all uses, eg as solvents
- chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) - banned from supply and for all uses including aerosol propellants, solvents, foam-blowing agents and refrigerants
- hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) - banned for use as foam-blowing agents, solvents and in new refrigerant systems
In most cases the import and export of ODS is banned.
You can only produce and market ODS:
- as a feedstock (raw materials required for an industrial process) for producing non-ODS substances, eg Teflon
- for laboratory and analytical work
You must clearly label feedstock ODS and indicate that it can only be used for that purpose.
Supply and use F-gases correctly
F-gases used in chemical manufacturing include:
- hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) propellants, eg in technical aerosols such as lubricant sprays used in engineering maintenance
- perfluorocarbons (PFCs), eg used in electrical engineering and occasionally in cosmetic formulations
- PFCs and HFCs as cleaning solvents
If you produce, or import into or export out of the European Union, more than one tonne of F-gas per year, you must report to the European Commission before 31 March each year.
Manage equipment containing ODS and F-gases correctly
If your business uses or handles equipment that contains ODS or F-gases, you must comply with controls on their use - see refrigeration equipment responsibilities for chemical manufacturers.
Manage your waste ODS and F-gases
If you dispose of waste ODS and F-gases, or equipment containing ODS or F-gases, you must comply with the duty of care for waste. You should use specialist contractors - see waste responsibilities for chemical manufacturers.