Starwest's Environmental Practices
Facilities OverviewThe last several years have been very exciting for us. Since the move to our new facility, we have been able to concentrate and invest in several of our production areas. The expansion of our new facility has allowed us to make significant investments to improve our ability to efficiently process our products to meet the growing demand, and we are committed to the continuous improvement in our food safety management systems.
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. With our expansion and move, we were able to consolidate several 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.
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 the future.
Recycling and WasteOur objective with our waste management program has been to maximize our recycling efforts and effectively use our materials, including minimizing our waste and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 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. In the last few years we have made substantial progress with an increase in our recycling efforts and in reducing our waste. We’ve seen an increase in our recycling from 30% to 50% in the last two years, and we recycle over half of our waste now. We will continue to try and identify ways to increase our recycling and decrease our waste each year.
PaperThe major factor in our reduction of paper use has been in moving to an annual wholesale catalog from a biannual wholesale catalog. 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. The ink we use in our catalog contains a high concentration of mixed vegetable oils (is not a petroleum solvent based ink), and makes the print process even more environmentally friendly and sustainable.
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
DrumsWhen we are done with our drums, 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.
Sustainability At Starwest
Sustainable Organic Farming
Certified organic products are grown and harvested without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and offer a more sustainable option for feeding ourselves and our communities. Organic farms can even support higher levels of wildlife, and improve entire ecosystems and ground water. Sustainable organic farming practices can produce crops without depleting our earth’s resources or polluting the environment. It has many environmental, health, and social benefits, and continue to have a significant impact on the quality and availability of water and soil quality.
Certified Organic ProcessorWe are continually developing and maintaining long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships with suppliers and growers who are committed to sustainable and organic farming practices. All of our certified organic products are grown and harvested in accordance with the USDA National Organic Program. Our products and manufacturing facility are both Certified Organic by Quality Assurance International (QAI).
Certified Organic Product SalesWe are committed to increasing the amount of certified organic products we offer each year, and our new products are launched as organic whenever possible. The overall growth of our organic product sales has risen by 75% in the last 6 years.
Ethically Wildcrafted and Harvested PlantsWe make every effort to source and select ingredients from natural renewable sources and are dedicated to the conservation of plants and the preservation of their natural habitat. We support sustainable wild collection practices to protect species from becoming endangered. We are a member of United Plant Savers, a non-profit organization that helps spread the word on endangered and at risk plant species. Their mission is to protect native medicinal plants and their native habitat while ensuring an abundant renewable supply for years to come.
Fair TradeWe continue to offer a large selection of Fair Trade Teas certified by Fair Trade USA, an independent nonprofit organization that monitors and certifies Fair Trade products in the U.S. Fair Trade raises income and living standards for tea farmers overseas, while helping to protect the environment by investing in their farms and communities. For consumers, Fair Trade offers a powerful way to reduce poverty through their everyday shopping.
The Fair Trade Certified™ logo you will see on our product labels guarantees you are receiving a superior quality product, farmers and workers received a fair price for their product, and eco-friendly practices were used in crop production.