Guidance

Recovering, reclaiming and recycling F gas

Rules on recovering fluorinated gas (F gas) from equipment and what you must do to get it reclaimed or recycled.

A technician with appropriate qualifications must recover F gases from equipment, including when it’s reached the end of its life.

You must recover F gas from:

  • commercial or industrial refrigeration systems
  • refrigeration systems in trucks, trailers, ships and other vehicles
  • stationary air conditioning (fitted to buildings and can’t be moved)
  • portable or mobile air conditioning systems
  • stationary heat pump systems (fitted to buildings and can’t be moved)
  • stationary fire protection systems (for example, automatic fire response systems in large buildings)
  • high voltage switchgear

You must recover F gas from other equipment if:

  • it’s technically feasible
  • the cost of doing so is proportionate – that is, the cost is worth it for the benefit to the environment

You can email f-gassupport@environment-agency.gov.uk for advice.

You may need to send the whole unit to a licensed waste facility

Use a registered waste carrier to send the equipment to your licensed waste facility.

It is against the law to let F gas get into the atmosphere on purpose where it is not technically necessary. If you do, you could be prosecuted or get a civil penalty. See the Environment Agency enforcement sanctions policy

If you see someone release F gas in to the atmosphere on purpose, report it to f-gassupport@environment-agency.gov.uk.

Recovering F gas from aerosols

It’s not cost effective to recover F gas from individual aerosols like spray paints or deodorants.

If you collect or use large quantities, you should send them to a licensed waste facility so they can recover the F gas.

Get your F gas reclaimed or recycled

Recovered F gas must be reclaimed, recycled or destroyed, where technically or economically feasible. Send it to a specialist reprocessing plant.

This applies to both:

  • F gas that can be removed from equipment and transported separately
  • F gas incorporated into the equipment, for example in foam

The rules apply to all:

  • refrigerants
  • hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in foam insulation
  • HFCs used in fire protection systems
  • sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) from high voltage switchgear
  • propellants from aerosols
  • solvents

Reclaimed F gas is reprocessed to the standard of virgin (unused) F gas. You do not need a quota to use reclaimed HFCs from within the UK until 2030.

If you‘re sending the F gas to a specialist reprocessing plant to be destroyed, you must use a registered waste carrier.

Using recycled F gas

Recycled gas with a global warming potential of more than 2,500 can only be used in equipment owned or operated by the:

  • company that owned the refrigeration system from which the F gas was recovered
  • company that carried out the recovery

Find the global warming potential of an F gas

Published 21 August 2019