Posted: August 01, 2014
Green Colorado 2014: Consumer businessMaria Martin & Nora Caley
Bags made from upcycled and recycled materials
Ecologic Designs sews bags and totes out of banners, billboards, tents, bike tubes, wetsuits, climbing ropes and other nontraditional objects. The company works with AT&T, Patagonia, Denver Metro State University, and others to divert used materials from landfills, and turn them into promotional products. The company also has a direct-to-consumer line called Green Guru Gear, available at bike shops and outdoor shops nationwide. In 2013 the company recycled and diverted from the landfill more than 12,314 pounds of bicycle tubes, 5,486 pounds of wetsuits and 845 pounds of climbing rope.
The manufacturer uses zone heating, lights that turn off when the room is unoccupied, and workstations that sleep when not in use. The company has used Kill A Watt meters to determine energy usage for different business operations.
Opened in 1979, Alfalfa’s works to reduce energy consumption through technology updates in its refrigeration and lighting systems. The grocery uses a Lyteswitch control panel, which dims when natural light is high and turns the lights up when it gets dark outside. All lighting is LED or CFL, and the refrigeration systems earned the Gold level in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill certification program for food retailers.
Alfalfa’s recycles all its cardboard, plastic wrap and plastic bags. The store partners with Terracycle to help consumers recycle and up-cycle packaging waste, and in 2012 and 2013 diverted 93 percent of its waste from the landfill. Since June 2013, the grocer has diverted 1,885 baby food pouches, 8,016 energy bar wrappers, 1,925 plastic bags and 1,078 beauty care products from landfills. The store also donated 25,000 pounds of food to Community Food Share in 2013, and waste from produce is given to local farmers to use for chicken feed or compost alfalfas.com
The WhiteWave Foods Co.
Packaged foods and beverages
The WhiteWave Foods Co., which makes and sells plant-based food and beverages, won the 2013 Naturally Boulder Company of the Year award. The company restored nearly 183,714,000 gallons of water in 2013 through Water Restoration Certificates, and bought Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to offset 97,245,000 kilowatt-hours of energy used in 2013. WhiteWave diverted more than 74,000 pounds of waste from landfills through its zero waste recycling program.
Seattle Fish Co.
Each year, Seattle Fish Co. receives and processes more than 7.5 million pounds of seafood in its Denver facility, and supplies Whole Foods, King Soopers, Panzano, Marczyk Fine Foods and others. The family-owned business earned certification from the Marine Stewardship Council, an eco-labeling organization that ensures seafood is traced back to a sustainable fishery. It installed a fluorescent lighting system with motion sensors, a 102.9-kilowatt solar array, and a water reclamation system that saved over 700,000 gallons in its first year. The company is a founding member of Sea Pact, a sustainable seafood alliance that funds fishery improvement projects. seattlefish.com
Door to Door Organics
Grocery delivery service
Door to Door Organics partners with farmers to deliver fresh, seasonal, organic produce and natural products to consumers. The company tries to reduce water, air and land pollution by reducing packaging and food waste. Door to Door Organics averages a 77 percent diversion rate for all waste products, including corrugated, mixed recycling, composting and donations. Deliveries from Door to Door Organics represent the equivalent of taking 23 passenger cars off the road each year or planting 1,080 trees. colorado.doortodoororganics.com
The enterprise employs more than 600 people on its 1,000-acre tea garden in Bangladesh. When more bio-fertilizer was needed, Teatulia set up a cattle-lending program, in which a cow is provided to a local woman, who pays it off with manure and milk over time. Today there are more than 1,000 women in the program, and Teatulia is branching out to help families grow organic vegetables to sell in local stores.
In 2012 Teatulia won the Focus on the Future Sustainability Award from Naturally Boulder. teatulia.com
New Belgium Brewing Co.
New Belgium, known for its Fat Tire Amber Ale and other brews, implemented a Sustainability Management System (SMS), to set goals around energy, water, waste, carbon emissions and packaging. A water recovery and reuse system on the bottling line saves more than one million gallons per year, and 18 percent of electricity is produced onsite with bio-gas from a process water treatment plant and a 200 kilowatt photovoltaic array. The brewery installed smart grid technology to reduce peak energy demand. The brewery direct service fleet is 82 percent alternatively fueled. And the Tour de Fat, a promotional event that hits multiple U.S. cities, uses a trailer powered with waste oil biodiesel.
New Belgium removed the paperboard dividers from 12-packs, saving $720,000 and 420 tons of material every year, while its six-pack carriers use 100 percent recycled-content paperboard. For every barrel of beer produced, the company donates $1 to charity, totaling more than $6 million donated to environmental nonprofits since 1995. Newbelgium.com
Odell Brewing Co.
Odell works with Johnstown-based Waste Not Recycling to recycle plastic, wood, metal, rubber, Styrofoam and paper. The brewery purchases post-consumer content products for merchandise, cardboard and glass bottles for packaging and paper products. Odell, which makes 90 Shilling Ale and others, also recycles air. The storage coolers use outside air-cooling, which shuts down refrigeration when the outside temperature drops below 42 degrees and brings in outside air. Solar tubes and polycarbonate skylights utilize natural light. In the bottle line, the vacuum pump was re-designed to a closed loop system, which helped reduce water use by 13 percent from 2011 to 2012.
Odell installed solar panels in 2009, and the 76.8 kilowatt system supplies 14 to 15 percent of total electricity. The brewery hopes to be a zero landfill company by the end of 2014. odellbrewing.com
Maria Martin and Nora Caley are freelance writers.