CCN talks to Refrigerant Reclaim Australia CEO, Kylie Farrelley, about the significance of World Refrigeration Day which will be held on 26 June, 2022.
This year’s global celebration will be used to explain cooling’s essential role in protecting human health and the planet.
The Cooling Keeps Food Fresh campaign will describe why cooling is necessary for food safety and how it supports nutritious diets that sustain our health, helps to reduce food loss and waste, and protect the environment.
CCN: Do you think the community generally recognises the important role our industry plays when it comes to keeping food fresh?
Farrelley: The complex temperature controlled supply chain responsible for getting fresh produce from producers and then transported to the retail and hospitality sectors most likely is not given much thought by everyday Australians. Yet, over the past few years many people were no longer able to freely visit supermarkets and shops, and home deliveries via refrigerated vans became essential to service the elderly and vulnerable and those forced into self-isolation. Not to mention the many busy Australia’s who choose the convenience of having their groceries delivered to their front door.
CCN: How can we help reduce food loss and waste?
Farrelley: When you consider the complex supply chain of fresh produce – from farm to plate – it shocking to think that nearly a third of all food waste comes from households. Did you know that Australians waste up to 20 per cent of the food they purchase?
It’s not only the emissions that come from transporting and refrigerating the food we buy and ultimately throw out that is detrimental to the environment, but it’s also the water wasted to produce the food and the potent methane gases generated from rotting food sent to landfill.
By being more mindful of the environmental impact of food waste and making simple changes to the way we purchase, transport and consume food, we can make a difference.
CCN: What role can our industry play?
Farrelley: Modern refrigeration technology has improved the cold food chain, which not only reduces post-harvest losses, but also means less food wastage, which then means less food needs to be produced and transported, resulting in lower emissions. The food manufacturing industry is also moving towards fresh-processed produce with a longer shelf life and consumer’s growing appetite for more fresh pre-packaged foods. With companies developing foods that can survive for weeks in cold storage and remain fresh the entire time, the need for suitable refrigerated storage units is growing. We see supermarkets and processing facilities growing to extraordinary sizes, along with demand increasing for refrigerated cabinets and sophisticated refrigeration systems
CCN: How will RRA celebrate World Refrigeration Day this year?
Farrelley: RRA are in the fortunate position – being an essential service to the HVACR industry – that we get to see the fantastic work the technicians of Australia do every day.
Every 1 kg of ozone depleting substance or synthetic greenhouse gas refrigerant laboriously recovered by diligent technicians and sent to RRA for safe destruction, on average prevents two tonne (2,000kg) of CO2e released to the atmosphere. That is the equivalent to taking one petrol vehicle off the road for six months. In recent times the hard-working technicians of Australian return more than 500 Tonne of recovered refrigerant to RRA, therefore preventing nearly 1 million tonnes of CO2e emitted annually or taking 250,000 cars off the road for a year.
Now that’s worth celebrating!
CCN: What are RRA’s plans for the year ahead?
Farrelley: RRA plans to continue to support the HVACR industry by disposing of used and unwanted refrigerant.
2021 was a record year for RRA in terms of the volume of refrigerant recovered, it was 23 per cent above previous levels. This year we are already seeing strong signals that volumes will again reach new highs. This is largely due to legacy R22 and aged 410A systems reaching end of life.
We have also been working hard to make it easier for the wholesalers and gas suppliers to return recovered refrigerant back to us for safe destruction, by upgrading our systems, plant and by investing in the assets required to better support the program.