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In an effort to eliminate paper use and demonstrate its commitment to the environment, Yoke’s Fresh Markets has reduced the volume of printed materials for its Monthly Savings Guides -- by over 100 tons.
Instead of inserting the guide into area newspapers, Yoke’s now makes it available to everyone online at Yokesfoods.com, and sends just a few copies to each store. “This saves 145 tons of paper a year from going into landfills,” explains Denny York, VP at Spokane, Wash.-based Yoke’s. “And this is just the next step in our efforts to be a part of the green movement.”
York says that acting with environmental consciousness is one of the company’s core principles. It impacts daily operational decisions and drives ongoing company-wide initiatives. Other earth-friendly initiatives at Yoke’s include:
• Supporting Local Farmers: Since 2000, Yoke’s has worked hard to support local growers, ranchers and orchards.
• “Totally Degradable” Plastic Bags: Yoke’s was the first grocery company in the United States to shift to this sustainable plastic alternative.
• Cloth Reusable Bags: Yoke’s customers have the option of reusing their bags instead of paper or plastic. “Last year we credited our customers back $23,021 for reusing cloth bags and saved over 57,600 pounds of paper going into our landfills,” said York.
• Energy Conservation: Yoke’s has worked with local power suppliers to implement energy-efficient lighting, refrigeration and heating/air conditioning programs.
• Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL): Yoke’s has converted from florescent lighting to CFL.
• Side Windows: Installing side windows to increase natural light in stores.
• Lights out: Yoke’s turns off two-thirds of its florescent lighting from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. (and all non-florescent lighting during those hours), and all exterior lighting from midnight to 5 a.m.
• Smart Car Promotion: Yoke’s chose the Smart Car as the grand prize for its Brain Food Trivia Contest (yokesfoods.com/brainfood) because the vehicle is fuel-efficient and manufactured with recycled metal and parts.
• Recycling: Yoke’s recycles plastic into plastic bags, cooking grease into biodiesel, and corrugated cardboard into bales (sold at Yoke’s).
• Nature’s Corner: A store within a store that carries natural and organic products including grocery, refrigerated and frozen foods, nonfoods and cleaning products.
• Windmill Farms Produce Departments: Yoke’s produce departments carry more than 100 organic products.
• “Never-Ever” “roducts: Pork, Beef, Lamb, Veal & Chicken from animals that have “never ever” been exposed to antibiotics or hormones.
• Retro-Plated Floors: Several stores have installed retro-plated flooring (rather than tile flooring) that requires no buffing, waxing or stripping. This conserves energy and eliminates chemical use.
• Packaging: Many Yoke’s vendors and manufacturers are choosing to package in recyclable cardboard rather than plastic.
• Refrigeration and Frozen Equipment: Yoke’s equipment purchasing decisions rely heavily on the product’s energy-efficiency.
Yoke’s operates 12 stores in the Spokane area and Tri-Cities, Wash., and Sandpoint and Kellogg, Idaho.