The appliance retailer
has started compacting leftover
Styrofoam packaging and sending it out by the semi-trailer load to be
The effort has earned the company a "Sustainable Saint Paul"
award, a city award that promotes environmental stewardship.
The initiative was a huge undertaking for the company, requiring it to
make a large investment and train all of its drivers to separate
packaging materials as part of every delivery.
"It was quite a learning curve to get used to the process," said Bob
Warner, director of operations. "It took a little over a year."
The new Styrofoam compactor is one of just two in the state, but Warner
said the investment makes good business sense. It saves on refuse costs
and taxes, and the company is paid for the recycled material. At least
three other partners provide Warners' Stellian with additional Styrofoam
to compact and recycle.
Warner said his company sells appliances that are more efficient than
the industry standard, so going green was a natural choice.
"We already have a consumer that's very conscious about being green and
being efficient," Warner said. "We're seeing that philosophy through our
He said the company has added other touches to make it more efficient.
Delivery trucks automatically power down after five minutes of idling. A
natural air ventilation system in the warehouse circulates cooler air
in the northern stretch back through the warmer, southern portion of the
building. Warehouse lighting is motion-sensitive, so lights only blink
on in the particular aisle a forklift is using. After five minutes of
inactivity, the lights power down again.
Warners' Stellian also donates
plastic wrap to be recycled and put back into manufacturing.
"Foam was the last big component of our waste stream," Warner said. "We
were generating a tremendous amount of waste. Now, very little is going
to the landfill."
Source: Bob Warner, director of operations, Warners' Stellian
Writer: Michelle Bruch