Trader Joe’s is forced to fix refrigerators, cut greenhouse gas emissions

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Trader Joe’s will spend millions of dollars over the next several years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its refrigeration equipment as part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department.

Federal officials had alleged that the grocery chain had violated the Clean Air Act by failing to repair leaks of “R-22,” an ozone-depleting substance and potent greenhouse gas that is commonly used as a coolant in refrigerators. Investigators also claimed that the California-based company had failed to keep adequate service records for its refrigeration equipment and failed to provide information about its compliance record.

As part of the settlement announced Tuesday, Trader Joe’s agreed to spend an estimated $2 million over the next three years to cut down on coolant leaks from refrigerators and other equipment and to put in place a program to better detect and repair leaks. The company also pledged to cut its “average leak rate” to less than half of the grocery industry average, and it vowed to use non-ozone depleting refrigerants at all of its new or significantly renovated stores. At least 15 of those stores must use advanced refrigerants, such as carbon dioxide, that have far less potential to contribute to global warming.

The company also will pay a $500,000 civil penalty.


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