Caring for the planet is one of Virtual Supply’s 5 key values – what we call our “buckeyes”. By participating in sustainability initiatives such as purchasing wind power, recycling all cardboard that would otherwise be thrown away, and providing our employees with pre-paid bus passes and metal water bottles, we attempt to make “staying green” as easy as possible for everyone on our team.
Why is it Important to Be Green?
Virtual Supply believes that helping our planet stay green is paramount within our business. For that reason, it’s always been a top priority to ensure that our office and warehouse have a focus on eco-friendliness and sustainability. In the past decade particularly, we’ve made huge steps towards operating an eco-friendly business and it shows – we’ve been recipients of Oregon Business’ “100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon” award for 8 years in a row.
1. Energy Efficient Lighting
One of the most impactful things that we’ve done to make our facilities eco-friendlier was to re-evaluate our lighting. Not only did we swap out all of our incandescent bulbs for LED which uses significantly less electricity, we also had occupancy sensors installed in the warehouse, parking lot, and less used areas of our office such as kitchens and bathrooms. This ensures that lights are only being utilized when and where they are needed.
2. Utilizing Renewable Energy
We’ve partnered with Portland General Electric on their “Green Future Enterprise” initiative. This means that instead of purchasing energy from the burning of fossil fuels, we are able to purchase renewable energy to power our facilities from wind and solar plants in the local area.
3. Eliminating Use of Fossil Fuels
A couple of years ago we made the switch to exclusively using fully electric forklifts in our warehouse. This eliminated our facilities’ use of fossil fuels, and we wanted to make it easier for our employees to follow suit. Virtual Supply provides all of our team members with pre-paid Tri-Met passes so they always have the option to use public transportation rather than drive – to work or anywhere else!
4. Organic Garden
Every year we grow an organic vegetable and herb garden right outside of our office. The garden is planted and cared for by our in-house garden committee and then harvested to be shared with the entire team! This allows us to offset our carbon footprint and improve the air quality around our office, as well as giving our employees the opportunity to enjoy fresh produce grown by their colleagues.
5. Warehouse Recycling
Operating a warehouse means if we have excessive amounts of anything – its cardboard boxes! Most other distribution centers simply throw away all of that excess cardboard which ultimately ends up in a landfill. That doesn’t sit quite right with us – so we instead have opted to have a recycling company pick up all of our cardboard bi-weekly. We’ve also partnered with a local electronic recycling vendor to ensure we are disposing of damaged electronics and batteries as ethically as possible.
6. Re-Use Whenever Possible
Why recycle when you can re-use? When it’s possible we always prefer to reuse materials that we have on hand. For example – when we receive products in a box with void filler such as packing peanuts or bubble wrap, our warehouse employees keep those materials to use in a later shipment rather than disposing of them. Not only is this strategy eco-friendly, it’s budget friendly too! We also provide all of our employees with metal water bottles to keep at the office and water filtration systems on every floor.
7. Green Kitchens and Lounges
In an effort to reduce the amount of waste produced, our kitchens and lounges are all equipped with an extensive amount of recycling and compost bins for our employees to use. The kitchen is also stocked with a full assortment of dishes, drinkware, and silverware that anyone can use anytime!
8. Conscious Consuming
When buying products to use in our office we do our best to make sure they are eco-friendly and sustainable. This ranges from purchasing recycled printer paper, to using compostable plates and silverware for events, and even making sure that our janitorial crew uses environmentally friendly products to clean our facilities. The warehouse has recently begun practicing conscious consuming as well by opting out of purchasing non-recyclable void fillers like packing peanuts and bubble wrap – and using brown paper or honeycomb cardboard instead.