How to Decide If You Should Recycle or Reclaim Your Refrigerant

How to Decide If You Should Recycle or Reclaim Your Refrigerant

August 14, 2017

It’s a common question: “What should we do with our refrigerant?”

You probably already know that the Clean Air Act (CAA) doesn’t allow refrigerant to be vented into the atmosphere. You have to follow certain steps when dealing with refrigerant to prevent the release of ozone-depleting substances.

But, you do have a few different options for what to do with old refrigerant after it’s been removed: recycling, reclaiming, or disposing. Recycling and reclaiming both have advantages over disposing, but it’s sometimes difficult to know which of the two is best for your situation. This article will give you a framework for making the decision.


Recycling is the process of extracting the refrigerant from the equipment and cleaning it for reuse. The refrigerant is cleaned via oil separation and filtration to reduce contaminants.

Recycling can be a good option if:

  • You’ll be reusing the refrigerant in the same equipment or other equipment your company owns.
  • You aren’t planning to sell it or give it to anyone else. (Recycled refrigerant is, by law, allowed to be used only by the original owner.)
  • Your refrigerant doesn’t have an excessive amount of contaminants. (The Industry Recycling Guide outlines the maximum recommended levels of impurities for recycling.)


Reclaiming takes the process further, to remove additional contaminants. The refrigerant is then tested to meet AHRI Standard 700 purity specifications. Reclamation requires specialized machinery and must be done by an EPA-certified reclaimer.

Reclaiming is your best option if:

  • You have badly contaminated or mixed refrigerants.
  • Refrigerants will be charged into equipment other than the equipment it was removed from.
  • You want to sell it or give it to someone else.

Blake McClimon, LEL’s Refrigerant Specialist, sums it up by saying, “If your refrigerant is old, if it’s been mixed, or if you’re selling the machine that the refrigerant is in, it’s best to reclaim it.”

Recycling and reclaiming can both improve your company’s profitability. Recycling allows you to reuse refrigerant, and reclaiming allows you to sell it. Once you’ve determined how contaminated your refrigerant is and if you want to reuse it in the same equipment or other equipment owned by the company, you’ll have a clear idea of which option is right for you.

If you have questions about recycling or reclaiming refrigerant, if you’d like to sell equipment with refrigerant in it, or if you’re like to sell your reclaimed refrigerant, give us a call at 864.249.0943. We’re happy to serve you.

We Are LEL


Our business is buying, selling and decommissioning but our foundation is people.

You are first. Always. We seek to serve you with integrity, honesty, and the utmost customer service.

Our approach is different. Relationship over transaction. We are committed to embracing the challenge until we have the best solution for you.


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