From concentrated laundry detergents to chemical-free cleaners, “green” products are popping up all over Hy-Vee’s shelves. And behind the scenes, in ways you may never see, Hy-Vee is taking additional steps to make its stores and operations more earth-friendly.
For more information about Hy-Vee's sustainability efforts, visit the Hy-Vee 360 website by clicking the link below.
Simply stated, Hy-Vee’s sustainability mission is to promote the well-being of our customers, employees, communities and the global environment. Some of the things we are doing to fulfill this mission are discussed below.
1. Store Construction and Design
While we have focused on building our stores in an environmentally responsible manner for a number of years, we see sustainability as a continually evolving commitment. Some of our most recent efforts include:
- Concrete Floors: Concrete floors are being used, which eliminate the need for additional floor coverings and reduces our reliance on the cleaning chemicals used to maintain them.
- Recycled Materials: Where possible, recycled materials are used in our steel structures, foundations and concrete wall panels.
- Energy Efficiency: We specify Low-E windows and a highly reflective roof that reduce energy load in the summer help boost our stores’ energy performance.
- Water Efficiency: Features such as native landscaping and motion-activated toilets and faucets are used to reduce water consumption.
- LEED Certification: We recently completed our first store in Madison, Wisconsin, designed to achieve LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.) Click here to learn more about Hy-Vee’s new Madison location.
2. Energy and Resource Conservation
Our efforts to improve energy efficiency and to conserve natural resources include:
- Light: Measures aimed at improving lighting efficiency include the increased use of natural light, high-efficiency store and parking lot lighting, and store lighting that adjusts to the time-of-day.
- Equipment: Highly efficient heating, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment decrease energy consumption while waste heat from this equipment is used to preheat hot water and air.
- Transportation: We are working to improve the fuel efficiency of our trucking fleet through such measures as the use of fuel additives, alternate vehicle routing, and new engine, tire and trailer designs.
- Ongoing Evaluation: We are also working to reduce energy consumption through evaluating energy use patterns and through building design and operational changes. This effort includes working with other food retailers to characterize and compare carbon footprints.
3. Waste Reduction and Recycling
Another of Hy-Vee’s sustainability priorities is reducing waste and increasing recycling rates. This effort includes:
- Diversion of Food Waste: We are evaluating ways of removing food waste from land disposal. Methods being considered include composting and anaerobic digestion – a process in which micro-organisms breakdown wastes into harmless, and often-times beneficial, by-products.
- Store Recycling: We are continuing work to increase recycling rates for store recyclables, including cardboard, plastic, paper and cooking grease.
- Plastic Bag Recycling: All stores provide recycle barrels so customers can return their plastic shopping bags and dry cleaner bags for recycling.
- Products: Increasingly stores are converting to pre-trimmed produce and pre-packaged meat, reducing waste and transportation-related energy use.
4. Products, product sourcing and packaging
Other Hy-Vee sustainability priorities include increasing the number of green products on our shelves, sourcing our products from suppliers who demonstrate good environmental stewardship, and working to identify more efficient packaging alternatives. Examples of efforts underway in these areas include:
- Natural, Organic and Local Products: We continue to expand our selection of natural, organic and locally sourced products.
- Reusable Containers: We are continuing to expand our use of reusable containers, such as the reusable totes used for beef and other products.
- Sustainable Seafood: We recently introduced a seafood procurement policy that ensures the safety, freshness, and sustainability of our seafood supply.
- Shopping Bags: We are in the process of implementing a variety of measures aimed at reducing the use of plastic shopping bags, increasing the recycling of plastic bags, and promoting the responsible use of reusable bags.
- Packaging: We are working with other retailers to reduce packaging on branded products and pursuing more efficient packaging for private label products.
Things You Can Do
Hy-Vee is also working to make it easier for customers to join in our eco-friendly efforts. Examples of things you can do include:
Go green with a reusable bag
Reduce waste by toting groceries home in a reusable bag, available at your local Hy-Vee. According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. Now you can help by choosing to use a reusable bag. Our reusable bags come in a variety of styles and colors, including a bag lined with a special insulation to keep food cold or hot during transport.
Purchase green products
The purchase of green products is another way to promote a healthier environment. Products commonly available at your local Hy-Vee include:
- Paper towels, tissue and toilet paper made from recycled fiber
- Cutlery made from recycled plastic
- Green cleaning products and supplies
- Concentrated laundry detergents and fabric softeners
- Compact fluorescent lights
- Rechargeable batteries
- Water filters and refillable water containers
- Furnace filters that help your furnace operate more efficiently
- Personal care products made from natural and organic sources
- Local produce and products
- Plants and trees for your home and garden
Recycling of Plastic Bags
Hy-Vee also provides plastic bag recycling for our customers. Please bring your plastic shopping, newspaper, and dry cleaning bags back to Hy-Vee to be recycled appropriately.
Build with Bags™
For our Iowa customers, we are also excited to be a founding and participating member of Build with Bags™, a program of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association (IGIA) aimed at increasing plastic bag recycling. Build with Bags™ (BWB) was developed by IGIA in cooperation with Keep Iowa Beautiful, the Des Moines Area Metro Waste Authority, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and The Des Moines Register and has as its overall goals:
- Doubling the amount of plastic bags recycled over the next 24 months;
- Reducing consumption of plastic bags;
- Increasing use of reusable bags; and,
- Encouraging purchases of furniture and equipment made from recycled plastic through a grant program for parks and schools.
The cornerstone of BWB is the grant program aimed at providing funding for schools and parks to purchase equipment made of recycled plastic. This program will be funded by IGIA participants together with matching funds from other sources. The objective of the grant program is to support “closing the plastic bag loop” by demonstrating how recycled plastic bags can be re-used in the manufacturing of outdoor furniture and equipment. For more information on Build with Bags™, please go to: www.itseasytorecycle.com
For other ideas on “going green” visit one of the following websites:
We Want to Hear From You
If you have comments regarding our sustainability efforts, e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org