Abt takes great pride in the programs we have initiated towards being an ever greener company. Making this world a better place is a goal at Abt, and leaving a small environmental footprint has become a core value of the Abt family and a huge initiative for our business as well.
Natural light pours in from skylights during the day and aiding the natural light is a generator that Abt bought to power the electricity nine hours each day. The natural gas burning generator is an energy conserving power house that saves money while it burns 80% cleaner than the coal used by the local utility company. In the warehouse, we use high-output t-5 florescent lights that are 60% more efficient than standard lighting. Abt has started to change the lighting across our showroom to LED bulbs, which use 80% less energy and can last up to ten years. In addition to the generator, we have windmills and solar panels creating energy.
In the fall of 2016, Abt completed construction on our rooftop solar array. The system consists of 1500 340-watt solar panels, which should produce around 850-megawatts hours (mWh) of power every year. That’s enough electricity to run 80 homes for a year! The more electricity we can produce through renewable methods, the less we have to rely on power from sources that are harmful to the environment.
Another unique step taken towards sustainability in 2016 was the addition of a rainwater harvesting system. This 10,000-gallon barrel sits at the front of our store and is fed by the building's gutters, collecting rain from the roof. Instead of that water entering into the storm drain, it's used in our irrigation system. This has a two-fold advantage; lessening our burden on the municipal storm drain system during severe weather and reducing our consumption of fresh water.
We have an on-site recycling center, where we process over 8,500 tons of waste per year. Abt has found creative ways to recycle up to 95% of its waste. That 17 million pounds of waste, is taken out of the waste stream and will be used as raw materials to make new products. Thanks to all the recycling we do, our once daily garbage pick-up has been reduced to only once per week.
Abt's recycling center is also open to the public and will responsibly recycle most of your appliances or electronics. Simply bring them to the merchandise pickup area of the store and we'll take them from you there. Small appliances and electronic devices are recycled completely free of charge.
However, the following fees apply to recycling TVs:
Large quantities of Computers or other electronics will also be accepted, at a cost of $0.40 per pound.
For our retail customers who have electric cars, we now have an electric vehicle charging station for our customers to use while they shop. There are two connection spots available in the front of the store just to the right of the main entrance and past the handicap parking. The unit is manufactured by a company called ChargePoint. In order to use the station, the customer must first create an account with ChargePoint and order an access card. This new endeavor is to reach out to our customers that use electric cars and want to add a bit more convenience to their shopping experience at Abt Electronics.
Food is brought in four days a week and Jolane's is on-site so that employees don't have to leave our facility to eat. If an employee would like to get out of the store for lunch, bikes are provided so that driving becomes unnecessary. We have an employee gym on-site; employees can make one trip to work and work out.
Abt's local delivery and service departments make 9,000 calls per week. From all of those stops, we recycle everything that comes back from the customer's homes and delivery trucks (packing material, old products, etc..). Abt is proud to use bio-diesel in 64 of the diesel trucks in the fleet. We also have end-loaders, Bob Cats, and dump trucks that use bio-diesel. Chuck Metoyer, Director of Fleet Operations, makes sure that all of the new gas vehicles being added to the fleet are E85-ready. Along with fueling Abt's Green Fleet with environmentally sound fuel, Abt sends the used oil, oil filters, coolant, and batteries from all of the trucks to get recycled. The Abt team has thought of so many details when it comes to the maintenance of the Green Fleet. Even the water that washes the trucks is recycled.
Abt has made the choice to eliminate paper catalogs, in favor of our newsletter and website. This change has helped reduce the amount of C02 emissions that we put out, and prevented countless tons of paper waste. When our HR department communicates with our employees, it is done via email or electronic billboards displayed in employee areas. All of the store displays are made from recycled material and created in-house.
Most consumers aren't aware that many electronics and appliances can be harmful to the environment when disposed of improperly. Disposal of electronics and appliances should always be the last resort. The best choices would be to repair, resell, or find an authorized recycling center for your old electronics or appliances.
Instead of throwing away used appliances and electronics, see if there is someone else who could use them. Consider donating your goods to charity, gifting them to family or friends, or selling them on a website like craigslist.
Repairing an old appliance or electronic can keep it out of the junk yard. Environmental impacts may be reduced if you repair instead of recycling or just junking the old unit. Many times someone will take a used appliance off your hands to repair it instead of buying a new one. Abt has a manufacturer authorized repair center in our retail store for Chicagoland customers.
By far, recycling is the best option to dispose of an old appliance or electronic, if you are not repairing or finding a new home for your goods. Our on-site recycling center is open to the public and will responsibly recycle your appliances or electronics. Simply bring them with you on your next visit, and we'll take it from there.
Our recycling program is very extensive. What used to be a necessary once daily-garbage pick-up now has been reduced to one time per week. For a company that has over 1,000 employees and serves hundreds of customers each day in the store, it is a true accomplishment to have such little waste.
Com-Ed has provided an extra incentive over and above the intrinsic benefits to the environment. Currently they are giving rebates for those who responsibly recycle appliances. Abt has been chosen to participate in their rebate program.
We take in wood pallets, electronics, appliances, cardboard, paper, batteries, plastic (industrial wrap only), Styrofoam (white only), and materials brought in by customers. We do not accept glass, light bulbs including Christmas lights, cd/dvd/vhs tapes, and white Styrofoam peanuts. Annually, the Abt recycling center saves 2.2 million pounds of cardboard and paper from going to the local dump, over 350,000 pounds of Styrofoam from going to the landfill, and over 13 million pounds of appliances and 1.4 million pounds of electronics each year from ending up in the garbage each year.
Styrofoam takes 1,000 years to biodegrade. Instead of just disposing Styrofoam, Abt has a special machine that densities the EPS by 90% (making it look like a coiled snake). These Styrofoam coils are bagged and reused to make picture frames or plastic woods.
Proper Disposal of Waste is a practice followed carefully by the recycling center. When it comes to appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners, even if they are unusable, there will be remaining refrigerants such as Freon. Abt works directly with a company called Jaco Environmental, for the ComEd refrigerators. They remove all the Freon as well as other greenhouse gas emissions. In accordance with the EPA's Responsible Appliance Disposal Program (RAD), Abt works with a collection of partners that recover ozone-depleting chemicals from other old appliances.
Abt Electronics gladly provides recycling resources for all of our Chicago-area customers, but we know that saving the planet is not just a local battle. We want to do what we can to help customers across the country practice environmental responsibility. Below are resources that will help you find more information on recycling and nearby recycling programs.
TIPA e-cycling Center
Looking for information from your state government? Check out Recycle Nation for information on where the closest recycling center is to your home.