For Publix, recycling is a win-win

Recycling Binds outside a Publix StorePublix Chief Executive Officer Ed Crenshaw summed up our company’s historic commitment to environmental stewardship in a message to associates on Earth Day last year:
“Mr. George (Founder George W. Jenkins) founded Publix in the midst of the Great Depression. The idea of conserving resources and reducing waste was not new to him. While being green has become the popular thing to do today, we can be proud that we’ve been in a green routine for more than 80 years.“

Our company operates a total of eight return centers which serve as a hub of retail product returns, processing more than 1,000 trailer loads of store returns each day. In addition, they process and sell recyclables and pallets too. The associates working at these facilities carefully inspect all these materials for quality and contamination, and because of their care and effort, Publix obtains premium dollars for them. In fact, vendors are so confident that our recyclables are of top quality and contaminant-free, and our weight reports supplied to them so reliable, that, rather than inspecting our shipments and double-checking our numbers, they trust us enough to pay us according to what we report to them. This is unique in this industry and says a lot about our commitment to this effort.
In case you are not familiar, the scope of our recycling efforts is massive. In 2013, alone, Publix recycled:

  • Nearly half a billion pounds of cardboard
  • More than 6 million pounds of wax cardboard
  • More than 8 million pounds of mixed paper
  • Nearly 20 million pounds of mixed plastic
  • More than 1 million pounds of scrap metal
  • More than 206,000 pounds of tires.

If you’ve ever entered a Publix, you are probably familiar with the three bins outside each of our stores which collects paper bags, plastic bags and egg cartons. And in our own H.R. break room, we now recycle Styrofoam coffee cups, along with the usual plastic bottles and aluminum cans. But thanks to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of our sustainability team, we recycle materials you wouldn’t normally think might be worth recycling, such as:

  • Plastic wrap cores
  • Cornerboards
  • Buckets
  • Stretch wrap
  • Plastic straps
  • Scrap wood
  • Fat, bone, meat scraps
  • Bakery waste
  • Electronics
  • Damaged produce
  • Shipping containers
  • Three-ring binders

We encourage all our associates to consider the value in recycling! Mr. George recognized the value of conserving resources and reducing waste from the very start. By selling these materials to vendors who are willing to pay top dollar, it reduces our expenses. And since we are all shareholders, paying attention to the bottom line is important to each one of us.
If you share this commitment to sustainability and the environment, and like the sounds of working for a company that’s financially stable, owned by its employees, which has been around for nearly 85 years, take a closer look at Publix.

Publix: 2014 Greatest Hits

In the past year, Publix associates have been involved in some stellar achievements, including the opening of our new Charlotte Division. Below are some of them.

Tell us which among these you think are most impactful, and feel free to add any others you think worth mentioning.

Handling rejection in your job hunt

We hire about 50,000 people a year across our company. Most of those job offers are for positions in our stores since store employees outnumber support associates by a margin of 12 to 1.

That’s great news for the 50,000 people we hire. It’s not good news for the more than 400,000 people we don’t select; they understandably are disappointed.
Some, in fact, are downright frustrated if they’ve been pursuing a job with Publix for some time and fear they never will be hired here.

We wish we could offer employment to everyone who wants to join our company, especially since many we don’t hire are either very talented people or wonderful human beings – or both! But of course, a business has to make a profit, so we can only hire the number we need to provide the level of service that our customers deserve. And we have to hire the individuals we think are best suited for the jobs and for our company’s culture.

This blog is my sincere effort to reach out to those of you who do not receive a job offer from Publix, despite your best attempts to capture the attention of our hiring managers.

It’s human nature to wonder why you weren’t selected if you think you have all the right qualifications for the job you applied for. Here is what I’m hoping you will consider. As talented as you are, one of the other individuals who applied for the same position might have had better qualifications even than you. In other words, they might have had more experience in the duties they will be responsible for at Publix. They might even have been a former Publix associate who performed that very job well but had to leave the company for a while for a good reason.

The best way to avoid frustration is to manage your expectations. That’s a very hard thing to do when you are seeking a job. But the better you can temper your enthusiasm with a dose of reality – that you might not always be the best candidate for an opening – the easier you will be able to accept being passed over for someone else.

Hang in there and something good will come your way, if not at Publix then at another organization that needs exactly what you have to offer. Read more of our blogs to understand what it is we’re looking for. And join us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to interact as well.