The Celebrity Jet vs. The Local Supermarket
Let’s look at the numbers
The average supermarket leaks 875 lbs of 404A refrigerant annually, equating to 3,431,400 pounds of CO2eq per year. With 40,000 supermarkets in the US alone, that adds up to a whopping 137,256,000,000 pounds of CO2eq emissions from refrigerants leaking from these stores every year.
Now compare that to the emissions from the average celebrity jet, which is estimated to be around 6,753,280 pounds of CO2eq per year. Two supermarkets alone emit more CO2eq than the top celebrity jet, and there are 40,000 supermarkets in the US. These numbers clearly demonstrate why refrigerant emissions are so important to address.
Of course, there is a “culture war” element to the celebrity and private jet discussion, whereby people on one side of an argument or ideology can expose the seeming hypocrisy of the other side — and that’s a big reason why people focus their attention on the celebrity jet side.
Refrigerants and climate change
So, how do we reduce refrigerant emissions?
The good news is that there are several solutions available.
First, we can encourage supermarkets and other businesses to switch to refrigerants with lower GWPs, such as hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons are natural refrigerants that have a much lower impact on the environment than HFCs. They are also more energy efficient, which can help reduce the overall carbon footprint of the business. Several supermarkets have already made the switch to hydrocarbon refrigerants, including Whole Foods and Aldi.
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Second, we can improve the maintenance and repair of refrigeration systems. Many leaks occur due to poor maintenance or faulty equipment. By ensuring that systems are properly maintained and repaired, we can prevent leaks from occurring in the first place. This can be achieved through regular inspections, prompt repairs, and employee training.
Third, we can encourage the recycling and disposal of refrigerants. When refrigerants are disposed of improperly, they can leak into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change. By recycling refrigerants, we can reduce the need for new production and prevent emissions from leaks. This can be achieved through the use of recovery and recycling equipment, as well as proper disposal methods.
Finally, we can educate consumers about the importance of reducing refrigerant emissions. By raising awareness about the issue, we can encourage consumers to make more environmentally conscious choices when it comes to their refrigeration needs. For example, consumers can choose to purchase refrigerators and air condition
Can consumers themselves do anything?
While it’s easy to blame the rich and famous for their extravagant lifestyles, we as individual consumers aren’t going to have much influence on their jet-setting ways. However, we can make a difference when it comes to how supermarkets and retailers manage their refrigerants. By encouraging them to take proactive measures to reduce their emissions, we can make a real impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
So next time you’re at the supermarket, take a moment to appreciate the sheer scale of their refrigerant emissions and ponder the impact that small changes could have.
And if you happen to spot a celebrity in their private jet, go ahead and give them a disapproving glare, but remember where the real environmental villains lie – right there in the supermarket aisle and in your HVAC units!
Managing and developing ESG and EHS content for Trakref since early 2023.