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Environmental Sustainability

3 Ways to Protect Our Ozone Layer

26th June 2015

Summer is here! At least for those of us in the northern hemisphere, and the sun has already taken its toll on me. My so called “sun kissed glow” is more of a fire engine red these days despite the sunscreen I lather on before going outside. My sorer shoulders are a constant reminder of the condition of our ozone layer, so this article is dedicated to three ways we as individuals can consciously take care of our gaseous shield against harmful UV rays.

fridge

  1. 1.   Coolant and Refrigerator Disposal

Refrigerators and air conditioning units contain Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) in their cooling circuits and insulating foam. When they get damaged, these gases are released into the atmosphere, so be sure to repair damaged units, dispose of old ones safely, and purchase cooling equipment that does not use ODS as refrigerant. Units made after 1995 should not have this issue.

  1. 2.    Avoid Aerosol Spray Cansaersol

Everything from oil lubricants to hair sprays come in aerosol cans and most contain ODSs. When these chemicals are hit by the UV rays, they react with ozone and create new chemicals; thus depleting our protective layer. Check labels or seek out pump sprays instead to avoid these.

  1. Avoid Halon Containing Fire Extinguishers

Portable fire extinguishers typically contain harmful halons. Avoid purchasing or using these and be sure to dispose of them properly.

In 2014, the United Nations announced that the ozone layer had stopped deteriorating but will still take another decade before we see improvements. In the meantime, those UV rays will be shining down on all of us. Let’s help out our protective shield by doing our part to avoid ODSs no matter how seemingly small the impact. Every little bit matters!

Chemicals to look for and avoid: chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, and halons.

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