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    Unified Advances Waste Reduction

    Wholesaler's Sustainability Leadership Team to helm efforts

    Regional cooperative grocery wholesaler Unified Grocers said it’s making significant advancements in its ongoing effort to reduce waste and encourage earth-sustaining practices throughout the organization.

    As part of Unified's commitment to being a good steward of the earth while responsibly growing its business, the company has assembled a Sustainability Leadership Team that is targeting areas for improvement, developing best practices and encouraging continued advancement in sustainability programs in all aspects of the business. As a result of these efforts, a wide variety of programs have been implemented and are reducing the organization's impact on the environment.

    "We are very proud of the efforts and accomplishments of our associates and retail customers in working together to help protect our planet and conserve resources for future generations," said Bob Ling, president, Unified Grocers. "We also know there is much more to do and we look forward to celebrating those successes."

    The wholesaler’s sustainability programs range from simple conservation measures, such as double-sided copying and pooling office supplies, to recycling paper, cardboard, wood and plastics (bags, wrap and pallets) used in offices, warehouses and retail stores. To help reduce the amount of overall material going to waste, Unified has initiated a food and biodegradable materials composting program throughout its facilities and has donated non-salable products to local food banks on a regular basis.

    Additionally, the company has developed an internal website called "Green 365" to educate and inform associates about Earth-friendly practices and encourage them to submit additional ideas for green programs. Green 365 also is expanding Unified's sustainability efforts by encouraging participation in activities such as adopting segments of roads or highways, recycling eyeglasses and home recycling and composting.

    Recently, Unified began offering paperless invoicing to all of its retail customers in the western United States. When fully deployed, the paperless invoicing initiative will eliminate approximately 40 tons of paper from the waste stream every year while speeding order processing and giving retailers greater visibility to their ordering activity.

    Los Angeles-based Unified Grocers is a retailer-owned wholesale grocery distributor that supplies independent retailers throughout the western United States.

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