Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

What are ozone-depleting substances?

What are ozone-depleting substances (ODS)

New guidance from GOV.UK:
Fluorinated gases and ozone-depleting substances: how to do business from 1 January 2021


Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) are chemicals that, if allowed to escape, damage the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere. Some ODS also have a global warming potential so they contribute to climate change. F-gases are often used as a replacement for ODS. Most ODS are now banned. ODS include:

  • chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)
  • carbon tetrachloride (used to make CFCs)
  • hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)
  • halons
  • methyl chloroform and methyl bromide.

You can only produce and market ODS as a feedstock for producing non-ODS substances (eg Teflon) and for laboratory and analytical work. You must clearly label feedstock ODS and indicate that it can only be used for that purpose.

Some equipment still in use may contain banned or controlled ODS, and may also be traded illegally. You should be aware of which are banned, where you might find them and what to do if you discover them.

Former uses of ODS

ODS have previously been used in a number of ways:

  • Stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump (RAC) equipment
  • Some stationary fire protection systems and portable fire extinguishers
  • Air-conditioned and refrigerated transport
  • Solvents containing ODS.
  • The production of magnesium, different types of foam and high voltage switchgear.


Further information

SEPA: ODS information

EUROPA: Protection of the ozone layer


In this guideline

What are ozone-depleting substances?

Stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps: ODS controls

Fire protection equipment

Solvent cleaning

Specialist uses of ODS

How ODS regulations are enforced

Certificates for working with ODS in the European Union after the end of the Brexit transition period

ODS Legislation

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