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Archive for May, 2008

Uncle Tim laughing at Molly in kickball purple madness

My uncle Tim and I have a very endearing relationship with regards to “this organic thing.” I think it started back when we initiated our office recycling program with Pedro’s Planet last fall and Tim gave me trouble about not wanting another thing near his desk (aka recycling bin). Then I got on his case about his daily trips to QuickTrip to get his and several other coworkers’ cold beverage (iced tea) fixes taken care of in the morning. “Tim, can’t you re-use the same cup-carrier every day? How about we just rinse our cups and you take the same ones to refill every day?” I pleaded. “Molly, I’m recycling paper now, leave me alone, and just go plant some trees,” he joked.

navy organic cotton pullover hoodySo you can imagine my shock and glee when he came in my office today to look for a sample of an organic hoody. I thought he was kidding at first, but since he seemed to be looking for one right away, I asked if he had a customer interested in organic. “I can find what I need!” he insisted. “Well I might be able to help you find it faster if you want. Believe it or not, I do know about those products,” I responded, referring to my lack of knowledge of any of the “regular” products we carry in our showroom!

“Okay, who makes this?” he complied.

“A company called Continental. And it’s really great because it’s actually manufactured using only wind and solar energy! But that’s going to be pricier. Your best bet is Independent,” I answered, happy to be putting all of my vendor and product sourcing work to good use finally! “Hold on, let me get you the info. I think that’s who just confirmed that they could give us case pricing.”

So I jotted down the info for him, and when walking by my office a few minutes later, he said, “Molly, don’t jump out of your skin or anything, but I met your challenge. They just placed an order for some organic hoodies.” (After presenting the sustainable apparel options that we can make available to our customers at a sales team meeting several weeks ago, I challenged each salesperson to make one “green” sale this spring.

“Way to go, Tim! Now you get a green leaf that I can put up above your desk!” I said, gleaming.

“No, I don’t want that. I’ve got a challenge for you now! You have to sell baseball team uniforms now!” (Baseball is my uncle’s forte.)

“Does kickball count? I’ve sold two kickball teams!”

“No, it has to be baseball!”

(And in case anyone’s wondering, the photo in this post is illustrative of Tim & I’s joking-aroundness. That’s me on the right, in full fall kickball gear, for some reason holding a wiffle ball bat, and Tim looking on with amusement on the left.)

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Lean, Clean and Green Makes Good Business Sense

The new Missouri Enterprise Lean, Clean and Green Program leverages resources of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Green Supplier Network, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to help small and medium-size manufacturers enhance competitiveness, reduce costs and improve environmental performance. It focuses on regulatory issues, waste generation and disposal, hazardous waste reduction and containment, emissions reduction and energy conservation as well as productivity increases and cost savings.
Program Elements

1. Comparison of your company to similar ones in a national database to determine how you rate in nine key areas.
2. Completion of a questionnaire to develop a basic description of your business and preliminary data about your energy consumption and waste material generation.
3. Development of a Value Stream Map to graphically illustrate the flow of material and information in your operations and the potential for improvement.
4. An environmental assessment and records review focusing on air emissions, wastewater discharges, hazardous waste handling, solid waste disposal, recycling potential and indoor air quality.
5. An energy assessment and onsite facility inspection detailing overall energy consumption and energy conservation opportunities.
All of the data gathered in these steps will be collected and a final report will be developed to document improvement opportunities and recommend actions that a company can take.Follow-Up Meeting

Twelve months after presentation of the final report and recommendations, Missouri Enterprise will conduct a follow up meeting with the company to review progress and help sustain the improvements that have been realized.

Qualifications
To qualify for this program, companies must have less than:• $2 million in annual energy costs;

• 500 employees per facility; and

• $100 million in annual sales.

Davis emphasized that all of the data collected in this program will be held in strict confidence.

To help your company begin a Lean, Clean and Green program, contact your Missouri Enterprise Area Business Manager at 800-956-2682.

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It’s amazing how much better you can feel when your office space is clean and organized. Mine had been a wreck for almost two weeks between prep for the Earth Day festival and leaving town for the trade shows right after. Yesterday and today I spent some time cleaning up (and even decorating a bit) and I feel soo much better. Now my office functions as a mini retail space for EarthDance Tees (slash walk-in closet), showroom for our sustainable apparel options, and center of HR, legal, finance, and marketing operations for the company. Gotta love small business.

My favorite touch was hanging a big Sportsprint banner on the wall (maybe 10 feet long) that’s probably as old as I am. Because it’s so old some of the lettering and logo has peeled off in places, giving the look of an old retro t-shirt print. Some of my friends that noticed it at the festival in Forest Park even thought we made it to look like that.. “No, it’s authentically vintage,” I said. Just like the flaming red V-neck polyester sweater and kelly green men’s softball shorts I found on our racks last summer and have been sporting ever since. There’s some very fun things about a family business that’s been around since 1973.

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