Starwest’s Environmental Practices
Facilities OverviewThe last several years have been very exciting for us due to our expansion. We moved into a new facility, located in Sacramento, CA, which was repurposed both as our operations headquarters and as our raw material storage and processing facility for our herbs, spices, and many other product lines. Our new location is now home to all of our staff, including our sales, customer service, and shipping departments, along with our manufacturing and production areas. With our move, we also consolidated two of our warehouses into one, thus minimizing transportation costs and emissions. This additional space has also allowed us to operate more efficiently and safely, in addition to improving upon our environmental practices and waste management program.
Environmental PracticesAt Starwest, we are aware that all of the decisions we make on a daily basis have an impact on our environment, and we want to ensure that our impact is a positive one. We do this by ensuring that our daily operations are in a manner consistent with the best environmental practices. We believe in the preservation of our planet, and for a healthier, cleaner world for generations to come.
Renewable EnergyOur energy objective is to offset much of our electricity needs by efficiently using power made from renewable resources. We support our local utility's Greenergy® program, which allows us to purchase power from renewable sources like wind, water, sun, and biomass. The goal of the Greenergy® program is to build new, cleaner energy resources, and to reduce the need to build additional high-polluting power plants, thus creating a cleaner environment. We are committed to reducing our energy consumption levels, and we have replaced much of our lighting with new low energy units. Many of our areas have motion sensor lights and/or are on timers, and as we continue to upgrade specific areas within our warehouse and offices, ideas and procedures for energy savings will be a major focus for us in 2015.
Recycling and WasteOur objective with our new waste management program has been to maximize our recycling efforts and efficiently use our materials, including minimizing our waste. We have been recycling much of our waste for years, and in 2013 we implemented a new, very comprehensive recycling and waste management plan, and began to thoroughly measure and track what we recycle and send to the landfill. Training of employees on both waste reduction and our recycling procedures continues to be a strong component of our program’s efforts, as we seek to simplify and streamline the recycling in our facility.
PaperThe major factor in our reduction of paper use has been in moving to an annual wholesale catalog from a biannual wholesale catalog in 2008. With printing only one catalog annually, we have reduced our paper usage by approximately 15,147 lbs. (6,870 kg) of paper each year. The paper we use in our catalog is FSC Certified (Forest Stewardship Council) and recycled (30% recycled and 10% post-consumer waste). FSC certification ensures that products come from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social, and economic benefits.
Packaging and Packaging MaterialsOur objective at Starwest is to efficiently use packaging materials (whenever possible) made from renewable materials, that are recyclable and biodegradable. We recycle all cardboard, paper, glass, and recyclable plastic in our facility. We have clearly marked containers in work areas for all RECYCLABLE materials including:
- All copy and printing paper, including all of our product and shipping labels
- Cardboard Boxes (all are recyclable, reusable, biodegradable, and compostable)
- Interior packaging materials including packing paper and bubble wrap
- Wood scraps
DrumsWe do reuse our drums several times, and when done with them, we cut the metal ring off the top and recycle the drum cardboard material.
Wood palletsWe do reuse them in-house, but they are not recyclable. When we’re done with them, we sell them to a company to be reused.
Printer cartridgesMany of the printer ink cartridges we use are recyclable, and all are recycled. We also have several green printers that use solid ink blocks instead of cartridges, which generate less waste.
ElectronicsIf working, they are often donated to various schools or to our employees and their families. If they are not working, then we work with the e-waste recyclers to ensure proper disposal and/or reuse.
CompostOur green clippings are taken from our facility and recycled to create compost. Composting requires very little work and resources, and has a positive impact on the environment, including reducing our waste stream.