The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) recently launched the first ever online halon trading scheme. Halons are gaseous halogen compounds used to extinguish fires and they are three to 10 times more damaging to the ozone layer than chlorofluorocarbons. The online service seeks to promote responsible management of these chemicals on both sides of the transaction. In order to prevent the sale of virgin halons on the website, the terms of service agreed by those submitting a listing on the website include an agreement by the providers of halons that their product is from recycled, reclaimed, recovered or banked sources. Parties seeking to buy these chemicals have to also agree that their organisations will endeavour to reduce, avoid or eliminate the use of halons to the maximum extent possible and they will be used for the most essential needs. "It is the first business-to-business web portal to support compliance with a multilateral environmental agreement," said Gary Taylor, co-chairperson of UNEP's Halons Technical Options Committee.