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Chlorinated Solvents

Volume 174: debated on Tuesday 12 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what further action his Department proposes to take following the publication of its report on chlorinated solvent cleaning;(2) what action his Department has taken, following the publication of its report on chlorinated solvent cleaning, to increase the levels of awareness of the Montreal protocol in small and medium-sized enterprises and in the general engineering industry.

[holding answer 11 June 1990]: Copies of the chlorinated solvent cleaning report, and briefing sheets relevant to each of the sectors considered by the report, have been widely distributed to the trade associations for the general engineering, electronics, precision engineering, and dry cleaning industries.The parties to the Montreal protocol are to meet in London at the end of June 1990, when they are expected to strengthen the controls within the protocol on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). They are also likely to place controls on some other ozone-depleting substances, including 1.1.1 trichloroethane (methyl chloroform), which is widely used by the general and precision engineering industries. In July 1990, the DTI and the Department of the Environment are to brief trade associations on the results of this international meeting and the potential implications for their sectors.In March 1990, the Department of Trade and Industry co-sponsored a conference on electronics manufacturing and the environment. This was designed specifically to provide information to small and medium-sized enterprises in the electronics industry on the current and likely future controls on ozone-depleting substances within the Montreal protocol, and the range of environmentally acceptable alternatives available.This autumn DTI is planning to hold a series of regional seminars designed to inform SMEs, particularly those within the engineering industry, of the Montreal protocol and its likely impact. This activity complements the information provided by a number of suppliers of ozone-depleting solvents to their customers about the controls on such substances and the options available for reducing usage and switching to alternatives.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if his Department will propose any new codes of practice to discourage companies from disposing of solvents and to encourage their collection and return to manufacturers.

[holding answer 11 June 1990]: Solvent recovery and disposal is already one of the subjects covered by a European Community code of practice for the design, construction and operation of CFC-113 solvent-cleaning equipment. This code, which has been drawn up by industry and updated to take account of the development of new technology in this area, sets out guidelines to maximise the level of recovery and recycling and ensure that contaminated solvent is disposed of safely.