• SkillCat Team

Montreal Protocol

Updated: 2 days ago

EPA 608 Core Chapter 6 (Take full course for free)


In this module, we will walk through what the Montreal Protocol is. Skip to quiz!


1. Overview


Signed in 1987, the Montreal Protocol is an international treaty between 197 countries, including the United States. The treaty is a commitment among all 197 countries to protect the ozone layer.


This treaty focuses on phasing out ozone-depleting refrigerants. This meant CFC and HCFC refrigerants. As discussed in our Ozone Depletion module, CFC and HCFC refrigerants destroy the ozone layer.


In 2016, the Kigali Amendment was passed to update the agreements set forth in the Montreal Protocol.


In the Kigali Amendment, member countries committed to also phase out HFCs. This is because although HFCs do not destroy the ozone layer, they contribute to global warming.



2. Phasing Out Refrigerants


As part of the Montreal Protocol, the United States committed to end the use of substances that deplete the ozone layer. Phase out dates set in the Montreal Protocol indicate the date after which a refrigerant is completely banned from being produced or imported.


However, refrigerant contained in equipment manufactured before the phase out date can still be used, bought or sold.


Note that refrigerant needs to be reclaimed or reprocessed to virgin specifications before it can be sold to another person. We will discuss this process more in the next module.


Technicians can still service equipment that uses CFCs or HCFCs after the phase out date. This includes replacing failed components in equipment that contains these refrigerants.


After the phase out date, if equipment containing CFCs or HCFCs needs to be serviced, refrigerant needs to come from exemptions under the Montreal Protocol. Exemptions refer to refrigerant that is available in recovered, recycled, or reclaimed appliances only.


According to the Montreal Protocol, all countries under the agreement must completely phase out HCFCs by 2030.


In the United States, all CFCs were phased out on December 31, 1995.


Additionally, the U.S. is in the process of completely phasing out HCFCs as well. The most harmful HCFCs were phased out on January 1, 2020. This includes the primary HCFCs used in systems in the U.S., which are R-22 and R-142b.


With the phaseout of R-22 and R-142b in 2020, the U.S. has reduced HCFC consumption by 99.5%. All other production and import of HCFCs will be banned in January of 2030, completing the phase out of all HCFCs.


Recall that R-22 is a CFC refrigerant. Let’s say a technician completes a major repair on a system with R-22 refrigerant today. We know that R-22 has already been phased out, but the technician can still use R-22 that is recovered or reclaimed.


What the technician cannot is top off with a different refrigerant. This would mix the refrigerants and may make the mixture of both of the refrigerants impossible to reclaim. If the mixture is sent to a reclaimer, they may refuse to take reclaim it and destroy the refrigerant at the owner’s expense. This can get very expensive!


Let’s take a look at a short video on the effects of phasing out refrigerants.



3. Conclusion


The Montreal Protocol is an international agreement between 197 countries to phase out the use of chemicals that deplete ozone. Along with the Clean Air Act, the Montreal Protocol has been critical in reducing the amount of ozone depleting substances in the atmosphere.


The good news is that due to the Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is healing. Ozone is produced naturally in the atmosphere, and without ozone depleting refrigerants, levels of ozone are increasing to their natural levels again.


Because of this, ozone levels should return to normal levels by about 2065.


Question #1: What is the Montreal Protocol?

  1. United States Federal law

  2. An international agreement between 197 countries

  3. Canadian law

  4. None of these

Scroll down for the answer...











The treaty is a commitment among 197 countries, including the United States, to protect the ozone layer.


Question #2: In the United States, when were all CFCs phased out by?

  1. 1985

  2. 1990

  3. 1995

  4. 2000

Scroll down for the answer...











All CFCs were phased out in 1995.


Question #3: In the United States, when will all HCFCs be phased out?

  1. 1995

  2. 2000

  3. 2020

  4. 2030

Scroll down for the answer...











All HCFCs will be phased out by 2030 in the US.


Question #4: In the United States, when were R-22 and R-142b phased out?

  1. 1995

  2. 2000

  3. 2020

  4. 2030

Scroll down for the answer...













R-22 and R-142b, along with the majority of HCFCs, were phased out on January 1, 2020. This means there can be no new production or imports of these refrigerants.


Question #5: After a refrigerant is phased out, can equipment still contain that refrigerant?

  1. Yes

  2. No

Scroll down for the answer...













Phasing out a refrigerant means that it can no longer be produced or imported. Refrigerant contained in existing equipment can still be used, bought, and sold. So yes, equipment can still contain that refrigerant.


Question #6: After a refrigerant is phased out, can technicians still service equipment containing that refrigerant?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. It depends on the refrigerant

  4. It depends on the technician

Scroll down for the answer...













Phasing out a refrigerant means that it can no longer be produced or imported. Technicians can still service equipment that contains that refrigerant, but those technicians need to be Section 608 certified.


Question #7: After being phased out, where can technicians obtain refrigerant to service equipment that contains that refrigerant? (Select all that apply)

  1. From importing it

  2. From other states

  3. From recovered refrigerant

  4. From reclaimed refrigerant

Scroll down for the answer...













After a refrigerant is phased out, technicians still need to service systems that contain that refrigerant. In order to service existing equipment, technicians can obtain refrigerant from recovered and reclaimed refrigerant.

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