First Alternative is a leader in the community when it comes to doing business while being mindful of the environment. Below are a few examples of how we do our part to preserve the earth.
The Co-op carries thousands of organic products. Supporting organic farming and practices means keeping harmful pesticides and synthetic fertilizers off the land and out of our rivers.
We carry over 1200 Local 6 Products. Unlike other states, where the meaning of local is based on a multi-state region, our local 6 program is within Benton county and the 5 surrounding counties. Supporting local businesses means shorter product transportation distances and less fuel burning and, often, less packaging.
Our extensive bulk department furthers our mission of caring for the planet. The more bulk products we sell, the less packaging we use. We carry over 700 bulk items at our South Store and over 800 bulk items at our North Store!
We give as much attention to recycling as we do to our products. We provide a recycling center for the community that you cannot find anywhere else in the area. We accept commingled items, wine corks, batteries, and hard and soft plastics free of charge. We also recycling Styrofoam and metal for a small fee to offset our transportation and removal costs.
Each of our two stores has 6.16 kilowatts of grid-tie solar electric (Photovoltaic) panels in two separate arrays. Both stores combined with the four separate arrays is 12.32 kilowatts of grid-tie Photovoltaic. These systems help us lessen our demand on the electrical grid.
Blue Sky Renewable Energy Support
We are enrolled in the Blue Sky program through Pacific Power, supporting renewable energy and helping cut our carbon footprint. Our support of 110,400 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy avoided the release of 137,839 pounds of carbon dioxide — this is equal to not driving a car 139,676 miles!
Our South Store has a rain water catchment system the collects the runoff from our roof. We, in turn, use this water to water our landscaping and plants for sale.
We offer a punch card for walking or biking to the Co-op for customers and staff alike. Once the card is full, it becomes a coupon for $5 off your next grocery bill! In addition to the discount, we collect the filled cards and enter them for a drawing each month for a free bike tune up. Extensive bicycle parking is also available at both of our stores.
When we do remodeling and expansion products, we recycle old building materials and buy used ones whenever possible. We use low VOC paint and purchase lumber grown with sustainably harvested practices. We install energy efficient lighting, HVAC systems, on-demand water heaters, and more.
Eco Office and Cleaning Supplies
We use recycled office supplies and our cleaning crew uses green cleaning products. The free pens we provide to the customers are made of 100% recycled plastic. When we have materials printed out-of-house, we request paper with as much recycled content as possible and soy-based inks.
We run a store transfer between our two store twice daily, as well as a bank run once daily all with our electric vehicle. The power used to charge it comes from renewable energy through Pacific Power’s Blue Sky Program.
Zero Waste Plan
Our kitchen, produce department, break rooms, and public eating areas all have compost and recycling bins. The compost is made available to our customers free of charge. Items that we no longer need we donate to other businesses rather than send them directly to the landfill. We offer compostable to-go containers for our deli customers, helping to reduce the amount of garbage that goes to the landfill.
The Thymes, our monthly newsletter, is distributed twice per month by bicycle to businesses and organizations throughout the community.
Since the inception of the Sustainability Coalition, we have participated in Town Hall meetings and have several staff serving the committees to help further local sustainability efforts.