Pay Less bows environmental promo – Pay Less NW

James Frederick

Pay Less bows environmental promo

WILSONVILLE, Ore. — Pay Less NW joined the growing ranks of environmentally conscious companies in January by kicking off a multi-pronged campaign to manage and recycle solid waste. On the hit list are paper and plastic packaging materials, styrofoam and other items.

“This is a three-phase policy: to educate ourselves about recycling; to find out how we could work with our suppliers about packaging and creating a market for that; and to implement those ideas in our stores,” said Kimberly McAlear, merchandising projects coordinator for Pay Less.

Pay Less launched the ongoing effort Jan. 9 with a one-day recycling fair, the first of its kind in the state of Oregon. The event, held in the company cafeteria, was aimed at educating Pay Less employees, vendors and the public about recycling and waste reduction.

Some 850 people attended the fair, including company employees and suppliers, local school groups and the public. Recyclers, vendors of recycled products and government agencies were on hand to showcase recycled materials and methods and discuss waste management issues.

Internally, Pay Less constructed a recycling station at headquarters for its employees. The chain is also trying to recycle nearly all of the paper used in its offices, and is phasing styrofoam out of its company cafeteria.

Later, the chain will begin setting up recycling centers in at least some of its stores, McAlear said.

“Our goal is to take a leadership role in the implementation of solid waste solutions in the state of Oregon,” said Doug McKee, vp-administration for the 285-store drug chain. “We want to get everyone involved in the process–not only our employees, but also our vendors.”

With that in mind, Pay Less sent a letter last Nov. 30 to all its key suppliers to ask for their help in its recycling efforts. The letter, signed by vp-merchandising Jerry Kuske, stated that “Due to the rising concern for the effect of solid waste management on the environment, Pay Less has adopted a company-wide policy of environmental priority in the generation and disposal of `waste material’.

“In addition to internal programs oriented toward source reduction and recycling, we would like to work with you, our suppliers, to create a market for products that are `environmentally friendly’,” Kuske wrote. “We intend to emphasize this commitment in our promotions and advertisements beginning in 1990.”

Ads detailing Pay Less’ commitment to recycling will break in its circulars Feb. 18, with POS signing and shelf talkers appearing in stores the same week. The in-store signs identify products or packaging which are made of recycled materials, coded for recycling or condensed to cut down on packaging materials.

Pay Less has developed a logo for the program which highlights the “reduce, reuse, recycle” theme, and will also feature “earth friendly” products on display in stores.

Earth-friendly products

Among those products are non-phosphorous cleaning supplies, non-aerosol spray cans and products which are packaged in specially coded plastic bottles. The codes, developed in cooperation with major suppliers like Procter & Gamble, enable waste disposal firms to sort plastic packages by grade of plastic for recycling.

“It will be good for business if we offer someplace where customers know they can get these products,” said McAlear. “A lot of our major vendors, like P&G, Mobil, Dow Chemical and others, are already working on recycling.”

Both McAlear and McKee credited Pay Less employees for much of the impetus behind the chain’s efforts. “The recycling groups, paper companies and vendors at the fair were all surprised at how excited our employees are about recycling,” said McAlear.

The recycling effort by Pay Less, and a similar effort by hometown competitor Fred Meyer, is also aimed at heading off proposed legislation in Oregon which would ban all plastic packaging materials. “If we can be responsible as retailers and suppliers, and do some of these things ourselves, we may be able to avoid some of this legislation,” McAlear said.

Other major retailers, including Wal-Mart and Pay Less’ own corporate parent, K mart, have also launched environmental offensives to educate consumers about waste management, recycling and other issues. In an address last month to the National Retail Merchants Association (NRMA) board of directors, K mart chairman and ceo Joseph Antonini called on NRMA to “identify environmental education and improvement as an issue of immediate priority.”

Antonini proposed that the organization act as a catalyst to bring together the environmental efforts of government, consumerists, community leaders, suppliers, manufacturers and labor. He also stressed the importance of working with suppliers to encourage sale and use of recycleable products in stores and offices.

PHOTO : Kimberly McAlear, merchandising projects coordinator, and Chris Irwin, buyer, chat with

PHOTO : Doug McKee, sr. vp. of administration.

COPYRIGHT 1990 Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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