Retailers

Meijer Earns EPA Recognition for Keeping Its Cool

Grand Rapids grocer achieves lowest company-wide refrigerant leak rate
Meijer exterior sign
Photograph: Shutterstock

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer earned recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday for its efforts to reduce refrigerant leakage.

The company, which has participated in the EPA's GreenChill program since 2012, achieved the lowest company-wide refrigerant emissions rate of all GreenChill participants in 2020. Meijer has worked to reduce its refrigerant leak rate for more 12 and now has a leak rate 18.2% lower than the industry average, according to the company.

"Refrigeration plays a vital role in ensuring foods are stored at the proper temperature before they're purchased by our customers, but many people don't realize it makes an impact on the environment," Vik Srinivasan, Meijer's SVP of real estate and properties, said in a news release. 

The GreenChill program is a voluntary initiative that connects food retailers, refrigeration system manufacturers and chemical manufacturers with information and resources to cut refrigerant emissions in an effort to help businesses decrease their impact on the ozone layer. Participants receive assistance in transitioning to environmentally friendlier refrigerants, decreasing their refrigerant use, eliminating refrigerant leaks, and adopting greener practices and technologies. Meijer achieved notable leak-reduction performance in 2020, according to the release, by installing and effectively using leak detection systems and adhering to robust maintenance practices, which include proactively replacing end-of-life equipment in stores.

See also: Q&A: How Grocers Are Getting Smarter About Cold Storage

Last October, FMI–The Food Industry Association noted that for the more than two dozen retailers—representing nearly 13,000 stores—that are participating in GreenChill, store refrigerant use was down about 30% from 2007 levels. 

"Meijer is committed to lessening our carbon footprint, and this continued partnership with GreenChill helps us reach our environmental goals," Srinivasan stated. Privately owned, family-run Meijer operates 257 stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. 

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