Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

How time flies! It was a year ago today that Costless Express became Canada's first Carbon Neutral Office Supply Company. We continue to monitor and lower our CO2 emissions, but I must say all the "low hanging fruit" efficiencies were dealt with last year. It becomes harder to find ways to keep pushing the environmental boundaries in business after going great guns last year.

Over the past year we did add a few new feathers to our cap, such as in-house shredding, less cardboard and packaging from our suppliers, consolidated supplier deliveries (one supplier was delivering from Seattle daily and we cut that to once a week!), and internal paper reduction campaigns. For the first time, we did not mail catalogues to our 3,200 customers, but instead asked that they add on to their next order. It worked great, and saved all the extra delivery trips and over $17,088 in postage on our giant 1000 page catalogue.

On the paper reduction campaign side, we actually had two very successful campaigns you may see very soon.

SAVE A STAMP was one campaign where we are striving towards zero incoming mail. After some Eco Brain Storming Sessions, we saw data that Costless received over 50,000 pieces of mail per year. If we could get our customers to pay by credit card or direct deposit, then it could be possible to eliminate incoming mail. We also contacted suppliers and asked that they not send unsolicited price books and sample binders, as this added up too.

EMAIL INVOICES was the other campaign just rolling out. By eliminating almost all outgoing invoices and statements we were able to reduce our paper consumption by eliminating two pieces of paper from each order we process in our system. Also, we switched all remaining paper we needed to print to 100% recycled Harbor 100 copy paper. This effort netted us a savings of 4420 pounds of greenhouse gases, 2240 pounds of solid waste, 28 million BTUs of energy and 20,104 gallons of water!