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Asya Hangul


Points Total

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Participant Impact

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    spent learning

Asya's Actions


Properly Dispose of Refrigerants

Refrigerant Management

I will spend at least 120 minutes learning how to properly dispose of my refrigerator, freezer, and other refrigerants at the end of their useful lives.

One-Time Action


Use Muscle Power

Multiple Transportation Solutions

I will cut my car trip mileage by only taking necessary trips, and I will only use muscle-powered transportation for all other trips.



  • Asya Hangul's avatar
    Asya Hangul 4/23/2020 12:51 PM
    Continuing my one-time challenge, I then asked 2 more pressing questions:

    What happens to disposed appliances?

    Many old refrigerated appliances are disposed through curbside pick-up programs offered by municipalities or through appliance pick-up services offered by retailers when a new unit is purchased and delivered. Typically, municipalities and retailers subcontract the disposal of old appliances to third parties, who may re-sell some of the units domestically or abroad. 
    An estimated 40% of used appliances collected by retailers are placed on the secondary market each year where they may be put back on the domestic electricity grid and continue to operate inefficiently, consuming excessive amounts of electricity.
    Some units are exported to developing countries as well, where they are less likely to be disposed of responsibly.
    Units that are not fit for resale are typically sent to appliance recyclers, scrap metal companies, or other third parties, where valuable metals are generally salvaged for recycling. Foams, plastics, and glass are typically shredded and landfilled. While federal regulations govern the treatment of refrigerant, mercury and PCBs, their ultimate fate is unknown as there have been numerous reports of appliance dumping and release of hazardous components to the environment.

    What can be done?

    Municipalities and retailers have the ability to ensure that all old units collected are not re-sold and are responsibly disposed of. Utilities, many of which have a mandate to reduce energy demand, can also play a role in responsible appliance disposal through promoting the permanent removal of old, energy inefficient appliances. Similarly, manufacturers can aid in the appliance recycling process by promoting and supporting the responsible disposal of old appliances produced by their company.
    Dozens of utilities have implemented appliance disposal programs across the U.S. that promote the safe disposal of old, inefficient refrigerators and freezers, often with financial incentive for the collection of old units. Sometimes rebates toward the purchase of a new refrigerator/freezer or window AC unit are provided when old units are turned in. To collect and process old appliances and market the program, utilities usually hire a third-party contractor. Due to reduced energy demand, these appliance disposal programs are deemed to be highly cost-effective (on average, these programs cost $0.04 to reduce each kWh of demand, and can have a benefit-cost ratio of more than three to one for refrigerators).
    Universities and other large organizations can also reduce emissions through collecting and properly disposing of refrigerated appliances in their facilities and communities.

    “Stationary Refrigeration Safe Disposal Requirements.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 18 Sept. 2018,

  • Asya Hangul's avatar
    Asya Hangul 4/23/2020 12:18 PM
    As a part of my one time challenge I generated a list of questions for background information before my research.

    What is the history behind refrigerant disposal?

    Refrigeration/AC equipment has historically used refrigerants and/or insulating foam, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) (also trademarked as Freon), which deplete the stratospheric ozone layer and contribute to climate change. Newer refrigeration/AC equipment often contains hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used as ozone-friendly substitutes for CFCs and HCFCs, however, they still contribute to climate change. In addition to HFCs, the release of PCBs, mercury, and used oil is common as well.

    What regulations regarding disposal are currently in place?

    EPA has stationary refrigeration safe disposal requirements under the Clean Air Act...
    1. A prohibition on intentionally venting ODS refrigerants and ODS substitutes into the atmosphere while disposing of refrigeration/AC equipment.
    2. Certification requirements for refrigerant recovery equipment, as well as refrigerant evacuation requirements, to maximize recovery of ODS during the disposal of refrigeration/AC equipment.
    3. Certification requirements for technicians disposing of refrigeration/AC equipment (excluding small appliances.)
    4. Safe disposal requirements for small appliances to ensure removal of refrigerants from goods that enter the waste stream with the refrigerant charge intact.
    5. Recordkeeping requirements for persons disposing of refrigeration/AC equipment to certify to EPA that they have acquired refrigerant recovery equipment and are complying with the rule.
    6. Procedural requirements for sending refrigerant to a destruction or reclamation facility.
    7. Requirements for refrigeration to be dismantled onsite before disposal.
    8. One must obtain a written and signed statement from each customer verifying that the requirements for refrigerants to be dismantled from all appliances prior to delivery to a disposal facility has been fulfilled.

    Which appliances are subject to being checked before disposal?

    Appliances that must be checked before accepted for disposal include any appliance with cooling elements, such as motor vehicle air conditioners, household refrigerators and freezers, window air conditioners, water coolers, vending machines, ice makers and dehumidifiers, and are all subject to EPA’s safe disposal requirements. Roughly 9 million refrigerators/freezers, 6 million window air conditioning units, and nearly 1 million dehumidifiers are disposed of each year.
  • Reflection Question
    Materials Properly Dispose of Refrigerants
    How do you address your own feelings of concern, fear or despair about climate change?

    Asya Hangul's avatar
    Asya Hangul 4/23/2020 12:12 PM
    I have always been very aware of the environment and passionate about keeping it beautiful. In 2018 I decided to go vegetarian in order to combat carbon and methane emissions caused by animal agriculture. I'm often disappointed in America's environmental policies which is why I choose to take classes like sustainability in order to gain more knowledge about how to help the environment on an individual and local level. I was inspired to pursue law because I felt that environmental regulations needed to be drastically revised and improved. I think it's important to contribute to pursuing a common societal goal such as eliminating climate change, otherwise, who will? Being the change you want to see in the world has always motivated me to communicate to everyone I know about the dangers of climate change. Reminding people to carpool, recycle, properly dispose of refrigerants, compost, eat vegan, harvest rainwater, conserve, etc. is the best and most effective way to spread knowledge on sustainable practices, as the more people that are informed, the more pressure can be put on policy makers who are the ones that truly determine the future of the environment.

  • Asya Hangul's avatar
    Asya Hangul 4/23/2020 11:45 AM
    Through my one time challenge I learned how important proper refrigerant disposal is. Although the EPA has regulations in place and disposal is overseen by the government, there is still a large amount of refrigerants ranging from motor vehicle air conditioners, household refrigerators and freezers, window air conditioners, water coolers, vending machines, ice makers and dehumidifiers that continue to be disposed of in an improper manner. Here is a really interesting National Geographic link on CFC disposal...

  • Asya Hangul's avatar
    Asya Hangul 3/24/2020 9:55 AM
    Spending a majority of the semester using only muscle power around campus and the community was fulfilling for my mind, body, and the environment! This experience has made me realize the joy and ease of taking the time to reach my destinations rather than driving and polluting the earth to get places faster. I have picked up random litter while walking, convinced my friends to lessen their impact by walking around with me, and gotten more in touch with Knoxville as a whole. I will definitely continue to use muscle power beyond this challenge and lessen my carbon emissions.

  • Asya Hangul's avatar
    Asya Hangul 3/03/2020 4:17 PM
    All this rain has been (somewhat) discouraging to walk everywhere everyday, however, by walking more and being more aware of my surroundings, I have noticed a lot more trash washing up by the creek and especially in the sewers which has inspired me to look into more recycling initiatives around Knoxville! Also, I have been making my boyfriend and I vegan meals a lot more often. I am already vegetarian, but working towards a fully plant-based diet with someone else makes it so much easier and enjoyable!

  • Asya Hangul's avatar
    Asya Hangul 2/10/2020 2:44 PM
    This weekend I had a family emergency and had to drive 3 hours back home on Friday. It is a lot harder to not use any sort of motorized transportation where I'm from, as it is more spread out than Knoxville. However, I carpooled the whole weekend and did not have to drive my car after I arrived home! I had to drive back yesterday, but I am excited to continue not using my car for the rest of the 21 day challenge.
  • Reflection Question
    Transport Use Muscle Power
    How do your transportation choices affect your engagement in your community? Does your experience or enjoyment differ while walking, riding transit, biking or driving?

    Asya Hangul's avatar
    Asya Hangul 2/06/2020 2:19 PM
    My transportation choices affect my engagement in the community in that non-machine powered transportation allows me to use more of my time to focus on the community itself rather than the destination. By not driving my car, I have been able to find more excuses to go out and engage with all that the community has to offer.