While much has changed over the past 25 years, we aspire to maintain this responsible approach to living. We continue to keep a close eye on our growing business, furthering those practices that uphold our environmental standards and improving those that fall short. This is our promise to you and our pledge to the environment.
At Plow & Hearth, we take a proactive approach to reforestation. Since we began our PLANTING TWO FOR ONESM Program in 1991, Plow & Hearth, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Forestry, has planted over 3000 acres of trees in the Culpeper Soil and Conservation District in central Virginia.
This year marks the 16th anniversary of the program, and the number of trees planted has surpassed 1.5 million. We are deeply committed to this effort, and we hope to encourage other catalog companies to emulate this successful program in the future.
Plow & Hearth Plants More Than 1.5 Million Trees
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.
- 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.
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. We make it easy to do so by prominently displaying information in our catalog on DMA's Mail Preference Service, which omits customers who have expressed a desire not to receive unsolicited mail. To avoid duplicate mailings or mailing to a non-existing address, we use a variety of address and data management practices.
- Page Reduction
We've reduced the number of pages in our catalogs by adopting a versioning system that selectively targets recipients for certain mailings. In addition, by eliminating our bind-in order form in 2002, our paper usage fell 4%.
- Recycle, Please
We support the DMA's RecyclePlease campaign, encouraging our customers to recycle our catalogs by displaying the RecyclePlease logo on every catalog mailed. Visit www.recycleplease.org for more information.
- 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.
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.
- Paper shopping bags at our retail stores are made of 10% recycled content and are 100% recyclable, displaying the Recyclable logo.
- The packing material sent back to us in returned orders is reused for new shipments.
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.
- In 2007, we recycled over 20 tons of paper. Each of our departments has a recycling leader who is trained to monitor disposal of various types of paper, ensuring that we sort properly.
- We use 30% recycled paper for all of our business cards, stationary and letterhead.
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. Our warehouse recycled more than 400 tons of corrugated cardboard and 12 tons of metal in 2007. 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.
Based in the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, at Plow & Hearth, we need no reminder of the importance of land preservation. We support local and regional efforts to preserve the rural character of the land around us, including:
- Piedmont Environmental Council - Through volunteer efforts and financial contributions, we help the PEC combat urban sprawl, preserve our natural resources and protect historical sites. Visit www.pecva.org for more information.
- Montpelier Foundation - Montpelier, the lifelong home of fourth president James Madison and his wife Dolley, is a 2,750-acre estate in nearby Orange, VA, that includes farmland, race courses, active archaeological sites and more than 130 outbuildings, one of which is the mansion that has been restored by the Montpelier Foundation. We are dedicated to preserving the life and legacy of the father of the constitution. Visit www.montpelier.org for more information.
Our buyers strive to find unique, enduring products for the home, hearth, yard and garden that are quality built and responsibly produced.
- We give special consideration to those products made with environmentally friendly materials.
- We provide our customers with practical products that help them live a sustainable lifestyle. Some of the "essentials for country living" that we sold at our first store are still popular and just as efficient today. Products that promote sustainability and environmental awareness include composting products, non-invasive pest control, energy-saving insulated curtains and wood burning accessories. To see our entire collection of eco-friendly products, click here!
7021 Wolftown-Hood Rd
P.O. Box 5000
Madison, VA 22727
Email us for more information.