6 May 2013
Russia to ban disposables in bid to stop illegal imports
RUSSIA: Following meetings earlier in the year the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has recommended that Russia bans the use of disposable refrigerant cylinders in line with the EU, USA, Canada and other developed countries.
In a meeting with the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources it was recommended to initiate a ban on the use of disposable packaging for all types of refrigerants.
Illegal imports of refrigerants from China via the bordering countries of Ukraine and Kazakhstan have become a problem for Russia in its efforts to phase-out ozone-depleting substances.
It is argued that the importation of refrigerants in small volume disposable bottles, as opposed to reusable packaging, is difficult to control because of the large number of imported containers. Rough estimates suggest up to 600,000 of these cylinders are imported into Russia each year. Intricate gas chromatography tests on so many cylinders is considered impractical.
Most of the country's illegal ODS (mainly R22) comes into the territory in disposable cylinders designed for R134a, R404A, etc, the importation of which is not limited in any way. Additional difficulties for the control of trade in ODS are created by the virtual absence of customs controls at the borders with its customs union countries like Kazakhstan.
A ban on the import of ODP gases in disposable cylinders into the territory of the Russian Federation is suggested from July 1 of this year with a similar ban coming being imposed on its customs union partners on January 1, 2014.
A ban on the import of all refrigerants in disposable cylinders on January 1, 2015, would virtually nullify the smuggling of ODS under the guise of ozone-friendly refrigerants.