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For Publix, recycling is a win-win

Maura Satchell

Maura Satchell

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.

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