3 Businesses You Visit Every Day & How They Are Going Green

by Lauren Verini

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all usually have some sort of routine. We wake up in the morning and head to work and stop at our favorite local coffee ship to pick up our first cup of coffee for the day. We head to the office then take a break to head out and pick up some lunch. Do you ever stop to look around at the world around you? Many of these places that we visit on the regular are making significant changes to go green and sustainable. We’ve picked out a few of the most common places that we visit every day to see what they are doing to help the environment.

Coffee Shops

Starbucks is one coffee giant making an effort to design stores with locally sourced materials and to conserve water and energy. By 2015, their goals is to have recycling in all stores, have 100% of coffee be responsibly and ethically traded and also hope to serve 5% of all beverages made in stores with personal tumblers to cut down on waste. Starbucks currently serves cups with 10% post-consumer recycled paper fiber with an Earth Sleeve but hopes to encourage people to bring their own reusable mugs. How are they doing this? If you bring your own cup, you save 10 cents on your Starbucks beverage. Also, if you are drinking in store, ask for a ceramic mug instead of a paper cup. Dunkin’ Donuts is another large coffee chain that is getting rid of their notorious foam cups. The store will be phasing out these cups in the next 2 to 3 years in lieu of a more eco-friendly paper cup with recycled materials

Gloria Jean’s Coffees is a smaller chain but is making a big effort to go green and make a difference in the community. The coffee chain has partnered with the Rainforest Alliance to offer the largest selection of Rainforest Alliance Certified™ coffees. Gloria Jean’s Coffees and the Rainforest Alliance share a common goal to help conserve the local eco-system where these coffee beans are grown. Gloria Jean’s Coffees has also partnered with Water for Water, which is the exclusive supplier of bottled water for all of the company’s locations. The spring water and all of the materials used to create the bottle are sourced locally in the U.S. and is made from Regenerate™ — 100% Recycled PET (RPET). Best of all, 100% of the profits goes toward helping communities get access to safe drinking water.

Drug Stores

Here in New York you see a Duane Reade on every corner and it seems like you don’t go a day without popping into one daily to purchase something or other. Over the last few years Walgreens, which also owns Duane Reade, has made recycling and energy efficiency a priority. In 2010 the company recycled approximately 70 million pounds of cardboard and donated 3.2 million pounds of product to Feeding America, all of which was diverted from landfills. The drug store is making an effort to install solar panels on new store locations and aims to have 130 active solar panel installations. To reduce energy, the company plans to replace HVAC units with more efficient models and all new coolers, freezers and exterior building signage utilized LED lighting. In addition, Walgreens was the first retail drugstore to feature a geothermal energy system, which uses the temperature of the earth to help heat and cool the store. Rite Aid and CVS have adopted similar goals over the past few years. Rite Aid has upgraded the lighting in over 2,500 stores to more efficient lighting and also replaced old HVAC units with more efficient ones, while CVS is working on it’s first LEED Platinum Store in West Haven CT set to open in fall 2013.

These drug stores have realized that more and more of their customers are looking for natural and eco-friendly products and have made it a priority to make shelf space for these types of brands. In fact Walgreens and CVS have created their own eco-friendly lines to accommodate their customers. Walgreens has launched Ology, a line of personal care and household products and CVS has Earth Essentials, eco-friendly and affordable household products.

Grocery Stores

Kroger is doing many things to help reduce their carbon footprint and cut down on waste. One unique way they are doing this is by re-using fish oil from Regal Springs, one of their tilapia suppliers, that is processed into biodiesel and is used to fuel the company’s boilers, energy plant, all of the machinery at the processing plant and farms as well as the company’s trucks and vehicles. Talk about recycling! Kroger also uses Energy Star to help track the company’s energy consumption and are moving towards “Zero Waste” as a key goal in their sustainability efforts. Kroger recently joined the EPA’s WasteWise Program as a way to help keep track and make goals for reducing waste.

Stop & Shop is another well-known grocery store making efforts to become more eco-friendly, cut down on waste as well as finding new ways to offer responsibly sources seafood. This past Earth Day, the company announced a new goal to cut their carbon footprint by 20% by 2015 and also launched a new “Sustainable Choice” program to help their customers make smart choices about sustainable products. The Sustainable Choice program began in the seafood department and flags items that have been responsibly farmed or fished. Stop & Shop also aims to have “Zero Waste” by 2020 which means the store will divert 90% of all waste that goes to landfills that will instead go towards recycling and organic recycling efforts, like food donations.

Wegmans also focuses on sustainable seafood as well as selling local produce. Wegmans owns an organic farm in upstate New York and also hand picks organic farmers to supply stores with organic produce.


Did you know about these green initiatives taking place at your local stores? Are there any that we missed?


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