Being a good neighbor to the communities you operate in makes good business sense. If being cost-conscious improves that relationship then that is even better.
Take recycling for example. There are several forms of “recycling” you can employ that are both cost-conscious and good neighbor policies, and at Glacier we’ve embraced them all.
You always want to dispose or discard materials properly, but that is only the end of your waste/recycle process. You can take advantage of opportunities that reduce or eliminate waste by re-purposing material rather than just discarding it, and by choosing to use materials that are multi-use by design.
We prefer sturdy cartons that the customer can reuse if they need to send a product back for a modification, upgrade, or repair. We redesigned the packaging for our rugged systems so that we could use the same cartons and packing material across a wider range of products. Now, both Glacier and our customers can re-use that packaging, sometimes for months or even years before having to dispose of it or replace it.
Whenever possible, we save and reuse cartons and other varieties of packing material we receive, for less commonly shipped products, parts, or other components. We save and reuse vendor provided packing whenever it is in good condition, and meets our requirements.
Any paper or cardboard that cannot be re-purposed is recycled by our waste handler. Electronic scrap is picked up by a recycler who reuses or re-purposes that material to keep it out of the waste stream.
We have also adjusted internal processes to cut back or eliminate the need for printed paper and other office supplies. This has reduced our use of printer paper in the material, production and shipping departments by as much as 75%.
Some folks would say we are being green. After a fashion, I suppose we are. But our goal was to avoid waste, to keep the operation lean and efficient, and to keep costs down. Keeping costs down affords us the opportunity to pass that savings along to the customer or to help offset costs that might be beyond our control. It just makes good business sense. But it is also environmentally responsible. So we get to think about our customers and be a good neighbor, all at the same time.