April 22, 2014 on 4:46 pm | In Uncategorized | No Comments
Earth Day is one of those days that is a pseudo-holiday…we don’t give gifts, or bake cakes (usually), but it’s a great reminder that our Earth DOES need to be celebrated, and its plights brought to light. Earth Day was founded back in 1970 by Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin Senator, in response to the damage caused by a massive oil spill on the California coast in 1969. He believed that the power of the people, as demonstrated by student anti-war movement, could be harnessed to bring attention to the environment. He was right, and in 1990, Earth Day went global. You can find Earth Day Festivals in almost every community, parades to march in, trees to plant, waterways to clean. But do we really need to stick to doing these things on just one day a year? The answer is a resounding “NO!”
The next question out of most people is “well, what can I do?” Very simply, anything. When TriSports.com began as a small start-up located in our home, we were already recycling paper and plastic, so it was easy to continue doing that as the company invaded our home. We found we were able to reuse the boxes and packing material in which our inventory arrived to send out our customer packages. Small steps, yes, but steps in a forward direction. As we grew and moved to our first warehouse location, we were leasing and were unable to do everything we wanted on the sustainability front. We still made it a point to use repurposed wood to build structures in our warehouse, to recycle on a larger scale, begin a commuter program for our staff, and to be as thrifty as possible with our energy usage.
Our second move involved the purchase of our own building, and with that, the ability to tailor it to our needs and put in the features we had thus far only dreamed about. We worked with our architect to integrate as many “green” features into the building as we could at the time. Some of these efforts included:
- Dual light controls in office spaces, along with plenty of natural light, so everyone thinks twice before flipping those switches.
- Zoned A/C throughout to ensure that only the spaces being used are being cooled.
- Herman Miller furniture throughout, most of which is made from recycled material and can be recycled after its useful life.
- Carpet tiles made from recycled materials, which also make it easy to replace small areas rather than having to entirely re-carpet if something were to damage it.
We also continued our internal practices, some of which are:
- Extensive recycling – the recycling container is about 4x larger than the trash container, and it doesn’t stop with paper. We recycle the pallets that bring our shipments to us, the boxes that come in our back door, clothing, shoes, bike parts and more!
- Commuter program which encourages employees to bike to work by giving them a credit for every mile they commute, along with contests and awards to make it fun and interactive. Our employees commuted 29,000 miles in 2013, and have done close to 180,000 since inception of the program.
- Greenbox program which gives our customers the option to receive a recycled box and packing material instead of new. So many customers were choosing this option that we stopped making it optional and implemented it for all orders, though we don’t have near enough recycled boxes for all of them.
- Shoe collection program which donates collected shoes to a local non-profit for reuse within the Tucson community.
- Bike parts are donated to Resource Revival to be re-made into art and awards.
- Adopt-a-Road trash clean-up along Catalina Highway, the road to Mt Lemmon.
We have since been able to add water harvesting to the tune of two 18,000 gallon tanks, as well as a 128 kWh solar array that has been covering approximately 90% of our energy usage. In 2013 alone, our water tanks harvested 57,000 gallons of water that we used for landscaping and other gray water needs, like washing our expo trailer. The solar produced 241 MWh, accounting for 92% of our energy for the year, and in doing so, prevented 8.74 tons of methane and 163 tons of CO2 from entering our air, plus saved 18,657 gallons of gasoline and 120,679 gallons of water. You can see our current numbers anytime by clicking here.
We at TriSports.com are super proud of this, and hope that other businesses and individuals look to us as an example of a sustainable business, but we did it in baby steps…it all started with just a little recycling. So when you think, “I’m just one person, I can’t make a difference,” I’m here to tell you that you CAN. Start small, and even if you continue small, every little bit counts.