H3R Clean Agents
    Can Halon Be Recycled?

    If Halon is contained in cylinders retired from service or if a container is leaking, the Halon can (and should) be recovered for recycling and reclamation.

    Current legislation prohibits the production or importation of new Halon 1211, 1301, or 2402 into the U.S.. Recycled Halon is now the only source of supply.

    Why Recycle?

    Conservation of Halon is necessary to preserve existing supplies until alternative products and systems can be implemented. Actual use should be restricted to real incidents requiring fire suppression. Routine testing of systems for proper operation with the Halon product is unlawful.
    How is "Recycling" Distinguished from Recovery and Reclamation?

    The term, "recycling" is used in a variety of ways concerning the processing of clean agents. In its broadest usage, it refers to a process that involves recovery, recycling and reclamation. These terms are defined as follows.

    Recovery: The collection and storage of controlled substances (such as Halon) from machinery, equipment, containment vessels, etc., during servicing or prior to disposal.

    Recycling: The process of removing contaminants (oils, nitrogen, particulates, moisture) by refrigeration and filtration so that the Halon can again be used in a fire suppression system.

    Reclamation: The reprocessing and upgrading of a recovered controlled substance through such mechanisms as filtering, drying, distillation and chemical treatment, in order to restore the substance to a specified standard of performance.

    Recycling and reclamation, as defined above, are sometimes together referred to as "recycling."

    A key objective of H3R Clean Agents is to facilitate the redeployment of clean agents that we have recovered and recycled to customers who require them for critical uses, and who commit to using this finite resource responsibly.

    Components Required to Recycle Halon

    In order to recycle Halon, certain components are required. The pumping system must be able to quickly and efficiently (99 percent efficiency to prevent the escape of Halon into the atmosphere) move the Halon liquid and vapor from the storage tank to processing equipment. Operating pressures range from 360 to 600 psig for pressurized cylinders down to a vacuum of 10 to 20 inches of mercury for cylinders which will be opened to the atmosphere. The recycling system should include modules for 1) removing contaminants by filtration and 2) removing nitrogen by condensing the Halon and venting the nitrogen. Filters should be replaceable without the release of Halon. In general, the two modules can run automatically and are not labor intensive. For a more detailed analysis of Halon 1301 recycling equipment see the Pollution Prevention Opportunity Data Sheet "Halon 1301 Recycler."

    How To Minimize Losses of Halons During Recycling

    • Operate and maintain recovery and recycling equipment in strict accordance with manufacturer specifications to ensure that it performs as specified
    • Ensure that cross-contamination does not occur through the mixing of Halons and/or refrigerants that may be contained in similar cylinders.
    When a given Halon is recycled, it is essential that the recovery and recycling equipment be purged of other Halons and/or refrigerants that may have been previously recycled using the same equipment. It is expensive to purify Halon that has been contaminated with other Halons or CFCs, and such contaminated mixtures typically have to be destroyed. The principal objective of recycling equipment is to remove contaminants of residue, suspended matter, water, oils, etc., and to return the Halon to one of the purity standards. Either at time of resale, or on a periodic basis, a sample of recycled Halon should be tested by gas chromatography to ensure that the purity standard is being maintained.