Your mom was right: “Shut the fridge door!”
High power bills, spoiled food, and the toll on an appliance trying to keep its cool in a warm room make her advice a no-brainer. Then there’s the safe disposal of the coolant chemicals and the appliance itself as well as the replacement cost when it prematurely expires.
But in our supermarkets, there often are no doors on refrigerated display cases! Common sense says this is wasteful and expensive, estimated to cost about six times as much as using closed displays. Keeping a turkey frozen in an open unit puts a greater burden on a refrigeration system, decreasing its efficiency and lifespan while increasing the likelihood of leakage of the chemicals used in refrigeration. Commonly, some 25 per cent of these coolants may leak annually into our air – and are exponentially more harmful than carbon dioxide emissions.
Refrigeration systems in supermarkets are complex. Changing any part will impact the whole system and retrofitting is costly. But our local supermarkets are owned by large corporations with the resources to make changes when they see advantages in doing so.
The ongoing financial savings in using closed units may not be enough to bring about change. Knowing that customers care about the issue and increasing “green cred” may be more powerful motivators.
Show your stores that “sight lines” and “ease of access” matter less than good environmental practices, and that you are willing to open and close the door on a display case. Tell your stores that you appreciate (or not!) their efforts to reduce their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Drop a line to your government representative supporting better refrigeration practices– and make your mother happy!