Today is Earth Day, a worldwide celebration of the environment and the importance of protecting it. While Earth Day is marked by a once-a-year holiday, it’s really also a continuous movement meant to educate and inform people on ways to be more environmentally friendly. It’s also one of our favorite days, as environmental awareness is something that’s always been important to us a business. We take pride in the various green initiatives we’ve implemented in our everyday operations, and have even been called “The Greenest A/V Retailer in the Country.” From on-site recycling services to making smarter energy choices, here are the ways we celebrate Earth Day every day, and some ways that you can too.
The Recycling Center is our on-site facility designed specifically for the processing and recycling of all waste created by the daily operations of our store. Every day, Abt completes more than a thousand deliveries and service calls in our 3-state local delivery area. All trash is returned to the store—along with old electronics and appliances that customers are replacing—and unloaded at the recycling center. Cardboard is compacted and baled, and shipped off to be recycled into paper or new boxes. Styrofoam is melted down and compressed into a compact, super-dense plastic material (it’s 98% air when used as a packing material. Remove that air and it’s very heavy) and sold to companies that will turn it products like picture frames or park benches. And all appliances are sorted and sent off to appropriate facilities to be recycled in an environmentally-friendly manner. Local customers are welcome to drop off waste at the recycling center; packing materials and small electronics like computers will be accepted free of charge, a small fee will apply to the recycling of televisions. Find out more about the Abt Recycling Center.
In 2010, around 2.4 million tons of electronic waste was disposed of, with only 27% of it being properly recycled. Products that end up in landfills will eventually leach toxic elements into the ground, which then get into our crop and water cycles. As we all own more and more electronic devices filled with hazardous substances like mercury, lead, and PCBs, it’s important that our old devices get recycled properly. Can’t make it out to Abt to recycle your old appliances, electronics, or other waste? Visit RecycleNation to search for your nearest recycling facility:
We’ve all heard of the 3 R’s of being environmentally-friendly: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. While recycling seems to get all the fame, reducing your impact is just as important. One of the easiest ways for the average person to do that is to choose products that meet certain standards for energy consumption. ENERGY STAR is a program established by the Environmental Protection Agency to help make it easier for consumers to choose energy-efficient appliances. The added benefit of using ENERGY STAR products is that they’ll save you money on your monthly utility bills! See Abt’s entire selection of ENERGY STAR appliances and electronics.
Local customers also have additional motivation to replace their clunky old, power-hungry fridge or other appliances, thanks to energy provider Commonwealth Edison. As part of their ongoing energy efficiency rebate program, ComEd will give customers a cash rebate when they recycle those appliances. ComEd will come to your house and pick up your ancient fridge, and give you $50 for it! The program is great for those of you who have an old fridge running in the garage, but haven’t thrown it out because you’re not sure how to get rid of it. This program keeps it out of the trash, prevents it from needlessly wasting money, and puts some cash in your pocket. All you have to do is schedule a pickup online or over the phone. Find out more about the ComEd Energy Efficiency Rebates.
Another great way to reduce your carbon footprint is by making smart choices for simple things like the lighting in your home. Skylights dot the rooftop of our 350, 000 square-foot warehouse, letting natural light spill in and reducing our reliance on electric light. All other lights in the warehouse are on motion sensors, turning on only when someone walks into that aisle and shutting off when they leave. While motion-activated lights may be impractical for home use, you can still gain much of the same benefit by using LED light bulbs, which require about 10% of the energy of an incandescent bulb while still creating the same amount of light. Couple them with smart systems like the Philips Hue, which let you adjust your lights from anywhere with an internet connection, and you can eliminate a significant chunk of your electricity usage. See our entire selection of smart, energy-efficient home lighting.
Finding a new home for old goods
Many of us probably have a closet filled with old gadgets that we haven’t used in a while, or an old projection TV in the basement, but we’re hesitant to simply recycle them because they still work well. That brings us to the idea of “reuse.” Just because you may no longer have a use for something, that doesn’t mean it’s objectively useless. While your smartphone or digital camera might be a generation old, it’s still plenty useful and will be valuable to someone else. Last weekend, we hosted National Camera Exchange for our second annual camera trade-in event. National Camera buys and resells used camera equipment. They set up shop at Abt and nearly a hundred folks brought their old gear to Abt—gear that was otherwise sitting around unused—and left with some cash in their pockets.
The odds are that most of us have stuff around the house that we don’t use, don’t need, and don’t even want, we just haven’t figured out how to get rid of it. Instead of just throwing it out, odds are that it can be donated to someone who may actually want or even need it. And while you may not be able to get cold hard cash for all of your used goods, you will get the peace-of-mind of knowing it didn’t end up in a landfill. A quick visit to Goodwill or The Salvation Army with a trunkload of old clothes or home goods is a great way for them to get reused.
These are just a few of the many ways we can all help protect the earth and preserve it for future generations. The little things can add up to have a large impact, so we encourage you to reduce, reuse and recycle whenever you can. We’re always looking for new ways to do those things, and we hope you will too. Happy Earth Day!