DistinctiveFabric.com is one of the first major Internet fabric websites and the first of its kind to go green and document its steps as it does so. Utilizing our position, we have tried to target as wide an audience as possible to share our efforts.
We've been working towards this for sometime now and continue to grow closer to our goals of zero waste. We recognize and value the impact that we have on the world and work at all times to utilize 100% sustainable practices in our operations whenever possible and when not, seek to reduce our negative contributions to as close to zero as we can. We believe that as a business, it is our social obligation to do so, as well as to help spread a sustainable, eco-friendly message to enhance other's awareness in life and business, as much as possible.
There are many reasons to start greening your home or business. Here are some of our motivations:
1. Keep the Earth beautiful, it's such an amazing gift to us all, why not just help the planet?
2. Try to think beyond today: what kind of world will we be leaving behind if our children have got to watch some Flash animation or YouTube video footage to experience the flight of some great bird of prey, go to a zoo, park or even plug into some virtual reality like Second Life to experience nature?
3. Reduce and reuse your energy and material goods consumption and save money while reducing your ecological footprint.
With the continued explosion of interest and activity from virtually every industry, it is clearly a best practice to follow. Ray Anderson from Interface Carpets was a pioneer and widely recognized for his efforts there until his recent passing. Inc.com ran a great article a few years back on the 50 most intriguing green businesses.
So what are we doing here at D.F. to reduce our eco-print? Well, we've developed a number of initiatives including:
1. Remnants fabric sales - prior to these our damaged, wrinkled, out of stock, old dye lots, and other miscellaneous fabric scraps, pieces and yardage would either be thrown out, given away to friends and family or just cluttering up space in our warehouse. Now we sell them off at nearly, exactly at, or somewhere just below our cost which further enhances our product selection and satisfies many a customer's need for just the right piece at just the right price.
2. Carbon Offsetting - our 14,000 sq ft, shared warehouse, averages 1,800 kWh (electricity) a month; our percentage of consumption is about 40% or 720 KWH. There are are numerous vendors to choose from when purchasing your credits including CarbonFund.org, NativeEnergy.com and BeGreenNow.com, to name a few.
To date, we've used NativeEnergy.com to offset corporate air travel and BeGreenNow.com for executive home energy use, as well as to regularly calculate CO2 emissions for other projects. In 2006, we started offsetting the total CO2 emissions for our warehouse through CarbonFund.org.
We have also been looking into the use of REC's until we can take our warehouse off the grid by installing solar panels on our roof. We also limit the use of our main lighting as much as possible too and installed custom wiring and switches to further control this.
3. Green office supplies - when it comes to supply, we've found TheGreenOffice.com to be the leading source, though these days you can find many of the same products at your local Office Depot. Since our operation and its staff are both small (we operate with a core staff of 3 on any given biz day), we don't require that many supplies, so we generally buy locally - the closest store near us is only about 1 mile from our warehouse (as all but one of our fabric suppliers are too), greatly reducing our travel needs.
4. Packaging disposal - all of our cardboard and plastic waste is recycled jointly by local collectors, including both minority workers and the homeless. We also reuse nearly 99% of the fabric cores/tubes during inventory and in some order fulfillment, whenever possible. All of our office waste: paper, cans, glass, plastic, etc. are also recycled; toner/laser printer cartridges are stored for recycling or reuse.
5. Sustainable fabric sales - Organic hemp's, cotton's, silk's and many other great, natural alternatives (more fabrics coming soon).
6. Carbon offsets - carbon offsetting options for your order are available for any interested fabric shopper. Please contact us for additional information regarding this.
7. Company transpo - At least three quarters of our staff utilize some form of public transit, walk or bike to work, the remainder minimizes driving as much as possible, carpooling whenever possible.
8. "No Bags" discount - We now offer $1.50 for every order you place when you use our NOBAGS1 discount code (see our fabric discounts page for more info), to help reduce the use of plastic bags in our operation.
There's no doubt that there's a bit of a curve to migrate yourself, your household or your company to a more sustainable lifestyle but it is well worth the time and effort. We continue to make strides with the aid of Green Gurus, LLC.
For the latest updates on our progress, be sure to subscribe to our fabric blog feed here.