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Introduction of a Comprehensive Refrigerator Recycling Programme in Brazil

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GIZ Proklima
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Capturing ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases from household refrigerators Brazil has more than 50 million old household refrigerators. Most of these are energy-inefficient and still contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which are ozone layer depleting gases having also an extremely high global warming potential (GWP). Currently, scrap collectors (so called catadores) collect old refrigerators from slum areas (favelas) and dismantle them in order to recover and sell any valuable materials such as metals and plastics. In this process, the CFCs from the refrigeration circuits and insulation foams are released into the atmosphere. The government of Brazil, in cooperation with large electricity producers (utilities), is implementing nation-wide refrigerator exchange programmes mainly for energy efficiency purposes. The collected refrigerators however need to be disposed of in an environmentally sound way to avoid emissions of the CFCs which are harmful to the global climate and the stratospheric ozone layer. The government is therefore very interested to develop a comprehensive waste management system for these old refrigeration appliances.