Our Environmental Sustainability Efforts
At Hedgehog Precision we put a big effort into sustainable practices. Many of these practices operate quietly behind the scenes; but we think they're important and wanted to take a moment to be transparent with those who are interested in the topic. Read ahead if you want to learn more about what we do!
What are we doing to help?
Sustainability in our framework
This almost doesn't need to be it's own point, but it's worth emphasizing anyways.
We're a small company, and it is hard for small companies to allocate resources to something that doesn't immediately payoff. Training, staff, time, and money are all in short supply for any small business. That being said, we feel that it's important. And if we can build a framework that incorporates sustainable practices, then that framework can grow as we do.
Pet Sustainability Coalition
The Pet Sustainability Coalition (PSC) is a nonprofit organization that accelerates sustainability in the pet industry through education, implementation tools, and collaboration. As a member of the PSC, we utilize their educational tools and can communicate with other people in the field who care about sustainability. They also have tools that help us assess where we are on our sustainability journey so that we can improve and set goals. It costs money to be members, but we think it's worth it.
Waste Audits/Recycling Efforts
A waste audit is a method of organizing and analyzing our waste. We have various bins for the common types of waste at Hedgehog Precision. The bins are for Trash, Traditional Recycling, Plastic Film, and Hefty Energy Bag Program (a program used to recycle products that cannot go into traditional recycling, such as Styrofoam and food packaging), and Compost. We weigh each type of waste before it is removed from the building, and we keep track of how much of each type we produce. This helps us assess what type of waste we produce the most of, and how we can decrease our waste.
Reuse Programs/Local Solutions
We try very hard to reuse anything we can; pallets, paper, boxes, etc. We are proud to use 100% recycled and/or reused packing material for shipping Hedgehog Precision orders. Rather than purchasing single use plastics, we partner with local shipping/packaging companies that collect packing materials for reuse. Local households can also donate packing material to be reused rather than thrown away. Any usable equipment that we no longer need is sold or donated, rather than thrown away. Being able to accomplish all of this by utilizing the local community allows us to cut down on transport pollution.
Carbon Neutral Shipping
When a company ships a package, the transportation method releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Shipping is an unavoidable part of commerce these days, but the carbon emissions are negatively impacting our planet. One of the ways we choose to help combat this is by using carbon neutral shipping through our e-commerce platform. Carbon neutral shipping works by contributing to a carbon offset process so that the net carbon in the atmosphere, in relation to our shipping, is 0. We also try our best to package everything efficiently. While these are not perfect solutions, they are a good start!
What's up with the packing materials we use?
If you have ordered from us more than once, the odds are that you have opened your package to find newspaper, coupons, or something else like that. We are aware that an off-white newsprint looks more professional than newspaper, but we also believe that sticking to our sustainability goals are very important. Our suppliers will routinely mail us inch thick booklets full of stuff that we don't want or care about. Rather than immediately putting these booklets into the recycling, it's more sustainable to get a use out of them first (though we do hope that our customers recycle the box and packaging material once it gets to them).
We care deeply about health and safety. We don't pull gross paper out of the garbage or dumpster. We intercept clean materials before they get there.
When we don't have enough recycled materials to strictly use those we do still purchase and use recycled, recyclable newsprint. The amount of newsprint we have to use is a fraction of what it would be if we didn't reuse other paper products.
So, has any of this helped us reach our goals?
We think so!
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is a fancy term for “garbage”, it includes trash, recycling, food waste, or anything else that you would put outside to be collected by the city.
As a company, we produce 18% of the MSW that the average American citizen does. At 60%, our recycling rate is nearly doubled that of the average American. As a result, Hedgehog Precision only sends 1/10th of what the average American does to the landfill each month. These numbers don't include items that we reuse or donate, such as pallets or equipment.
This isn't to belittle “the average American”. It's just useful to compare our numbers to something almost everyone is familiar with.
We are very proud of where we are, but we would love to improve.
Some areas that we are actively looking at and hope to improve in the near future are as follows:
- Compostable tape to be used on all outgoing orders
- Compostable boxes to be used for all outgoing orders*
- Custom product packaging that will be more easily recyclable
- Partnering with local businesses to sustainably dispose of items that we currently do have to send to the landfill
Have any thoughts, questions or suggestions? Feel free to reach out via email!
*We ship using a lot of USPS Priority Mail boxes. While they're made with recycled materials and are recyclable, are printed with ink using heavy metals and not currently recommended to be composted.