Monday, March 30, 2015 4:42:57 AM

Environmental Policy

Plow and Hearth is committed to being a responsible retailer, taking an active role in our community and making a conscious effort to protect the environment. From reforestation and recycling to paper procurement and eco-friendly products, we hope you'll take this opportunity to read more about our current environmental efforts.

  • A Ground-Breaking Initiative
  • Paper - Choosing Wisely, Using Wisely
  • An Efficient Workplace

A Ground-Breaking Initiative

We plant two seedlings for every tree used to create our catalogs.

At Plow and Hearth, we take a proactive approach to reforestation. Plow and Hearth, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Forestry, plants trees in the Culpeper Soil and Conservation District in central Virginia.

Paper - Choosing Wisely, Using Wisely

Our Suppliers

When we evaluate potential suppliers, we look for those companies that can guarantee the wood fiber used to produce our paper comes from sustainably managed forests, and that the paper used in our catalogs is produced using environmentally preferable technology.

Forest certification is one way paper suppliers can guarantee that their forests are being responsibly managed. There are many certification systems currently in use, each with a set of clearly defined standards covering environmental, social and economic aspects of management. Up to 35% of the fiber used in our catalogs comes from forests certified and/or registered by one or more of the following: FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative), PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) or ATF (American Tree Farm). Regardless of the type of certification held, we encourage our paper suppliers to practice responsible forestry through:

  • Regeneration of all acres harvested;
  • Adoption of traceability measures to verify the origin of all fiber;
  • Prohibition of fiber from old-growth or endangered forests;
  • Conservation of biodiversity, soil and water resources;
  • Protection of special sites with biological, geological or historical significance
  • Use of Elemental Chlorine-Free bleaching process;
  • Recycling and encouraging recycling of end product;
  • Adherence to all laws and regulatory obligations in host jurisdiction.

Our printers are encouraged to control the environmental impact of their activities, products or services and to continually improve their environmental performance. Some examples of our printers' responsible environmental practices include:

  • Extensive recycling programs, which include not only paper, but also plastic, wood, fiber, metal and other solid materials.
  • Solvent recovery systems to reduce emissions from gravure printing operations.
  • Standard operating procedures and quality assurances to prevent pollution and insure efficient use of water and energy.
  • Finding beneficial uses for residual materials, so that they don't end up in landfills.

Our Catalogs

We will continue to reduce our paper usage by utilizing targeted mailing strategies and current technology; we will encourage responsible consumption by promoting recycling; and we will research ways to increase the recycled content in our catalogs.

Smart Mailing
  • The last thing we want to do is mail our catalogs to someone who doesn't wish to receive them. This wastes trees, paper, postage and time. We maintain an in-house suppression list and our customers have the option to remove their names from our mailing list at any time. To avoid duplicate mailings or mailing to a non-existing address, we use a variety of address and data management practices.
  • Researching Alternatives
  • We are committed to researching paper formulations that consist of a higher percentage of recycled content and that meet our standards for printing.

Our Packaging

We strive to limit our use of virgin fibers by using packing materials that contain post consumer waste recycled material and by reusing packing materials when possible.

  • Our boxes contain up to 50% recycled content and are 100% recyclable.
  • We use 100% recycled newsprint to fill our packages.

Our Offices

We make a concerted effort to reduce the amount of paper waste in our offices by utilizing the latest technology and by strengthening our inter-office recycling effort. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a part of our everyday operations.

We reduce the demand for paper in our offices by using electronic methods to share information both internally and externally, such as PDF (portable document file) and EDI (electronic document interface) when possible.

All of our copiers have duplexing capabilities.

We use 30% recycled paper for all of our business cards, stationary and letterhead.

An Efficient Workplace

We take special measures to ensure that our facilities are efficiently run and maintained.

The rural community that we call home is important to us. We make our best efforts to limit our impact on the surrounding land and on the environment in general through:

Energy and Water Conservation - In our distribution center, we installed automatic towel dispensers, toilets and hand dryers as well as photocell lights that help make smart use of our resources and to cut down on waste.

Recycling Efforts - Recycling paper is only the beginning. We recycle or repair all of our wood palettes, and we initiate a community-wide program twice a year to recycle electronics. All foam peanuts that we receive are collected and sent to another local merchant that reuses them in its packages.

Plow and Hearth 7021 Wolftown-Hood Rd P.O. Box 5000 Madison, VA 22727

Email us for more information.


The Olla: A Brief History

Olla (Spanish, pronounced “oh-ya”) jars have been around since ancient times. Made of unglazed ceramic, ollas traditionally have short, narrow necks with wider bodies, and are made in a variety of shapes. They have been used for thousands of years for cooking, storage, and plant irrigation.

When used to irrigate plants, an olla is buried neck-deep in the ground near a plant’s roots, with the opening of the olla extended above the soil so that it can be filled with water periodically. The porous walls of the unglazed pottery allow the water to seep through gradually, constantly and consistently hydrating the plants without overwatering them – and without wasting precious water to evaporation or runoff.

The use of ollas for irrigation was introduced to the American Southwest by Spanish conquistadors during Colonial times, becoming very common among Native American tribes and Hispanic settlers. Though the technique gave way to more modern methods of irrigation some time ago, its superior efficiency, coupled with its simplicity, has caused it to make a comeback. Though the technique has changed little since its introduction, today’s ollas are usually capped off, making them even more water-efficient.

Perfect for home gardens, Ollas are a super-easy, eco-friendly, less time-consuming way to water annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables and plants of all kinds in dry, sandy soil, very hot or drought-prone areas, raised beds, and even pots, planters and hanging baskets. Fill the olla before you leave on a short vacation to enjoy worry-free watering – and a smaller water bill!

How it Works:

Water is pulled directly through the terra-cotta!

Read more about Ollas on our blog.

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