At Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived. We believe that it's in the wild, untamed and natural places that we find our best selves, so our purpose is to awaken a lifelong love of the outdoors, for all. Since 1938, we have been your local outdoor co-op, working to help you experience the transformational power of nature. As a co-op, we put purpose before profits and act in the long-term interests of our members. You can learn more about our efforts in our Stewardship Report, at www.rei.com/stewardship.
REI is working to become a zero-waste-to-landfill organization. This aspiration drives us toward more efficient business and environmental practices as we seek ways to reduce solid waste and the costs associated with it, such as packaging, disposal and shipping. Eliminating waste is good for our business and good for the environment. We think beyond the traditional "reduce, reuse, recycle" model to eliminate waste at the front end of the manufacturing process. And we examine and re-engineer practices attached with waste generation throughout our operations, from manufacturing to product placement in our stores, to our work with local waste utilities and haulers.
Our Bedford, PA Distribution Center is an integral part of this, supplying our eastern US stores with outdoor gear and apparel, and assisting the stores in reducing REI's waste. The DC Green Team has been very active in reducing waste at the DC, and were crucial to the facility achieving TRUE Gold certification with a 97.7% diversion rate. Some key programs include:
- Sourcing reclaimed barn wood for facility decoration and furniture
- Innovative program to divert un-sellable inventory to employees while raising money for the local foodbank
- DC and Logistics teams' enthusiastic support of backhaul programs from stores to enable recycling of challenging materials like film and bicycle tubes
- Comprehensive pallet management, with the DC team repairing over 262 tons of pallets in-house, while sending unsalvageable pallets to mulch, animal bedding, and alternative fuel.
“Our hard work at the DCs has paid off, but we’re not done yet. We need to be vigilant about what’s coming into our buildings—working with vendors to find alternatives for hard-to-recycle items and keeping materials in play for as long as possible,” adds Josh Brown, Bedford facilities manager.