We have comprehensive recycling programs in place at our corporate office and distribution centers in the U.S. and Canada.
In our corporate offices, recycling bins are located in copy rooms, cafes, kitchens, and at each associate's work space. We recycle plastics (including cups, containers and utensils), metal cans, glass bottles and jars, paper, and cardboard. Every year in August, we also hold a two-week-long "Clean and Green" event to encourage associates to dispose of confidential corporate documents that are no longer needed in an environmentally-friendly manner.
We recycle an even wider array of products in our distribution centers according to the different materials utilized within these facilities. Commonly recycled items include cardboard (including empty shipping boxes), batteries, aluminum cans, toners, paper, and plastic bales and shrink wrap.
While we are not yet able to quantify our recycling efforts in our New York and Kansas locations, our 2010 efforts in our Pennsylvania and Canada facilities yielded 183,951 tons of paper and 6,021 tons of cardboard bale recycling that would have otherwise gone to a landfill.
When our goods are damaged during manufacturing or transportation, the last thing we want to do is send them to a landfill. We've put considerable effort into developing partnerships with organizations that can recycle or reuse damaged goods. In 2010, we donated:
- 33,000 pairs of ripped jeans to Habitat for Humanity to be recycled into housing insulation. This was enough denim to insulate 66 new homes for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
- 15,374 new, single shoes to the National Odd Shoe Exchange, a foundation which caters to people who need single shoes or pairs of different sizes due to amputation, club feet, leg braces, diabetes, or other disabilities.
- 138,000 pieces of broken jewelry to Materials for the Arts (MFTA). MFTA provides free materials to charitable and educational organizations for use in arts programs.
In addition, we collect non-denim ripped garments that we receive from customer returns and factories. Once we have an entire container load, we send these items to Leigh Fibers to be shredded and utilized in the manufacturing of car dashboards, carpet insulation, speaker stuffing, and similar products.
For more information on our partner organizations, please visit the following sites:
Although paper is a fixture in all corporate offices, we've been working to reduce our overall paper consumption.
In 2010, we transitioned our internal newsletter, AE Life, from a printed publication to an electronic-based version. The magazine, which is approximately 20 pages in length, is published three to four times a year. With our new online "e-zine," we have reduced the number of printed copies by 98% from approximately 135,000 copies to just 2000 copies per year. These remaining paper copies will be printed on paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and will contain up to 35% post-consumer recycled material.
We also recently introduced a "paperless payroll" option for associates. Associates also have the option to view pay statements online. Today, 96% of corporate associates, 94% of distribution center associates, and 52% of stores associates participate in the paperless payroll program. So far, it has proven to be convenient, cost-effective, and good for the environment.