NFM Cares: A Recycling Program Playing Keep Away from the Landfill
At NFM, we’re aware the we have a responsibility to care for the environment. That’s why we’re working hard to do our part to reduce, reuse and recycle so we can conserve our planet’s resources. One of the ways we care for our environment is through the NFM recycling program.
About 72% of the Nebraska Furniture Mart’s sales are fulfilled through delivery. During the delivery process, a product is unboxed and prepped for delivery. A lot of the product that is sold is wrapped in various kinds of plastic, cardboard and/or packing foam. We realized that by sending all of this material to the landfill, it was going to take hundreds of years for these materials to break down and decompose. So, we decided to do something about it.
In 2007, we purchased recycling equipment so that we could process waste that is created in the warehouse from distribution preparation. We started in our Omaha Warehouse and have expanded the recycling program to all locations. As merchandise is unboxed and prepped for delivery, the waste is sorted into four different categories: cardboard, plastic, packing foam and trash. It is then sent down on carts to our recycling center and processed accordingly. Plastic and cardboard are made into bales and then set onto pallets to be sent back to the recycling center.
However, the packing foam is processed a little differently. Packing foam is composed of about 98% air, which makes it lightweight and a great option for shipping. To maximize space in the warehouse, the packing foam is melted down into units called ingots. The ingots are then placed into a sack and when it’s full, the pallet is sent to the recycling center. The material is then sent overseas where it is processed and is used to make items such as vinyl siding, fences, patio furniture and picture frames.
Since the beginning of our recycling program in 2007, NFM has saved the following materials from going to the landfill:
1,139 tons of plastic
23,168 tons of cardboard
667 tons of packing foam
In addition to our recycling program, each store location has their own Green Team Committee made up of staff members that are passionate about conserving our planet’s resources. Committee members meet monthly to look for ways to educate and create a culture of sustainability.
In our Omaha location, we held our first annual Earthstock event on April 14th. At the event, staff members were able to learn about the newest green products available at NFM. There was also a live composting demonstration, a repurposing contest, and a forum showcasing all the ways NFM is trying to reduce, reuse and recycle. We had an amazing turnout at this event with lots of positive feedback. We’re very excited at all the progress we have made in regards to sustainability and look forward to continuing to do our part to conserve our planet’s resources!