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February 03, 2008

Costco is going green

Costco_kona Costco CEO Jim Sinegal announced in their latest investors meeting that they will be expanding their effort to reduce their environmental impact.

As a start, Costco has begun installing large solar arrays on the roofs of their stores in California and Hawaii. The one in Kona, Hawaii is the largest solar array in Hawaii.

These installations cost $750,000 each, but Costco will make the money back in 3-5 years. Seven more stores are slated to receive solar installations in the next year.

When Beth of Fake Plastic Fish went to Costco a few months ago, she found an appalling amount of plastic and packaging everywhere she turned in the store. It's wonderful to see Costco committed to change, but it seems they have a long way to go to truly become green.

Here are some of the additional changes Costco has committed to making:

  • Reducing plastic clamshell packaging with increasing amounts of paperboard product
  • Recycling "everything": pallets, plastic stretch wrap, cardboard boxes, and light bulbs
  • Making their shipping and packaging more efficient by switching from round tubs to square ones
  • Expanding organic food offerings under the Kirkland Signature banner
  • Expanding their consumer recycling programs for electronics and light bulbs

If a company is going to market themselves as green, it's important that we green consumers hold their feet to the fire to reinforce important initiatives. Next time you go, if you see signs of improvement in their environmental practices, comment on it to an employee. Likewise, if you see areas that really need to be improved, do so as well. Or send an e-mail to their CEO Jim Sinegal: jsinegal@costco.com.

Read more: Seattle Times

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