Inside every refrigerator and air conditioning unit are chemical refrigerants that are harmful to the atmosphere. The ozone-damaging refrigerants - CFCs and HCFCs - were banned by the Montreal Protocol in 1987. The replacement chemical - HFCs - may spare the ozone, but they contribute to a different problem. According to Project Drawdown, HFCs are a climate change disaster with a "1,000 to 9,000 times greater capacity to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide." Project Drawdown estimates that 90 percent of these emissions happen at the end of the HFC life-cycle.
The stories in this collection (see below) illustrate methods to capture and dispose of these toxic refrigerants. From a UK-based company recycling refrigerators, to private businesses using the voluntary carbon market to offset their footprint, innovative systems can trap HFCs before they escape into the atmosphere.
The stories in this collection also exemplify the innovative approaches to cooling without chemicals. From district energy systems in Malaysia, to a zero-energy brick and charcoal fruit cooler in Kenya, technologies exist around the world for sustainably maintaining cold. This solution is one of the Drawdown Ecochallenge actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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Fondriest Environmental, David De Wit / Community Eye Health, Linda Steil / Herald Post, John Amis / UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences – OCCS, Andy B, Peter Garnhum, Thomas Hawk, 7ty9, Isriya Paireepairit, David Berger, UnLtd The Foundation For Social Entrepreneurs, Michael Dunne, Burak Kebapci, and Forrest Berkshire / U.S. Army Cadet Command public affairs
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Photo Credit: Sonia Narang