June ’24 at-a-glance … environment

EPA issues final SNAP 26 list of acceptable refrigerants 

Approved refrigerant substitutions for commercial ice machines, industrial refrigeration, retail food refrigeration systems, commercial ice machines and stand-alone retail refrigeration are included in the final SNAP 26 rule issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The 10 approved substitutes included in the rule are aligned with the latest editions of UL and ASHRAE standards The rule, effective July 15, continues EPA’s phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) consistent with the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act. EPA issued a fact sheet to help navigate the 256-page rule.  

State efforts around PFAS continue 

Just as Maine stepped back its proposed PFAS regulations, removing commercial cookware and many other categories from the final bill, other states, including Minnesota, stepped up their efforts. The Complex Articles Coalition – of which NAFEM is a member – regularly updates a list of international, federal and state proposed and final PFAS regulations. The latest summary is available on NAFEM’s list of business resources.  

Reducing food loss and waste announced as new administration priority 

Feeding America® estimates that 38% of food grown and produced in the U.S. is wasted. This, combined with EPA’s research that shows 58% of methane emissions from landfills are from food waste, is driving the administration’s National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Recycling Organics. The goal is to reduce food loss and waste by 50% by 2030. In addition to business and consumer behavior change, the initiative will test innovative approaches to reducing food waste across the supply chain.  

NY considers extender producer responsibility program 

A bill in the New York Senate – 6105 – would establish an extended producer responsibility program for appliances and refrigerants, including commercial appliances. Producers would be required to have the plan approved and in place by Dec. 31, 2025. The program would require recycling rates of 30%, 50% and 75% by 5, 10 and 15 years, respectively. Responsibility for educating consumers and end-users about the program also would fall to producers.  

This effort is similar to Quebec’s SORAC (Commercial Appliance Recovery Society) for commercial and industrial refrigeration/freezing equipment that NAFEM helped formulate. Other states, including California, Colorado and Oregon, also are looking at extended producer responsibility programs primarily focused on single-use packaging at this time.  

NAFEM peer receives grant to convert and destroy HFCs 

The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) was one of five recipients of nearly $15 million in grants focused on reclaiming and destroying HFCs from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). AHRI is developing a pilot project to chemically convert and destroy HFCs back into components for new commercial use. If successful, the zero-emission technique would create value from the destruction process and lower the cost and energy required to destroy HFCs compared to the current incineration method.