Is your local Trader Joe’s store a climate polluter? Help us find out!

Image: shopper in a supermarket in front of the freezer section. Title: Is your local Trader Joe’s store a climate polluter? Help us find out!

Supermarkets like Trader Joe's are leaking potent greenhouse gases called HFCs and it’s a huge climate problem.

In fact, refrigerant leaks from U.S. supermarkets are the emissions equivalent of adding 9.5 million cars to the road each year! Eliminating HFCs and improving refrigeration can avoid half a degree of global warming and 460 billion of tons of greenhouse gases in the coming decades.

Trader Joe’s has a particularly bad history of emitting refrigerant gases that hurt the climate and the ozone, and the company doesn’t follow best practices in reporting its current refrigerant use. The good news is, it’s pretty easy to find out.

That’s why we’re working with our friends at the Environmental Investigation Agency to crowdsource photos of refrigerant labels at your local Trader Joe’s!

How can you investigate your local store? All you need is a camera phone.

1. Find the label on the refrigerated shelves

On most refrigerator cases in a store there is a label that lists the refrigerant number. Start in the refrigerated foods section for dairy. Take a look up to the top of the refrigerated shelves for the label.

cfs-fridge-aisle-step1 copy.jpg

The refrigerant can be clearly marked, or you’ll just see R followed by a few numbers (most commonly, R22, R404A, or R134a - these are all different types of HFCs!), and sometimes you’ll see more than one refrigerant listed. That’s normal too! Look for something like this:

Step 1d.jpg

Step 1c.jpg

Step 1b.jpg

2. Turn on geotagging on your device

This helps us confirm the location of the store for our data collection.



3. Take a photo of the label

Make sure the refrigerant number is in frame!

4. Email and include:

  • The Geotagged Image and ensure geographic information is shared:
    • On an iOS device, using the built-in photo app, you must choose to send the image "Actual Size"
    • On an android device, you must attach your image from your phone storage and not from the google cloud
  • Store name (Trader Joe's) 
  • Store address and zip code (optional, in case of Goetagging error)

Check back soon to see your store on EIA's Supermarket map that tracks which stores are climate-friendly and which are super polluters!

map of supermarkets in the united states by refrigerant type

Have questions? Send us an email!