For the past decade, our local telecommunications company, Silver Star Communications, has been a leader in embodying the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic and environmental. Even before Silver Star established an official sustainability program in April of 2008, the company had been reinvesting back in the communities it served through sponsorships, scholarships and donations and had a reputation for its sense of responsibility towards its employees and customers.
Silver Star enrolled in UnCommon Sense, a sustainable business operations leadership program of the Yellowstone Business Partnership. In 2010, Silver Star was the first Teton Valley business in to be awarded Idaho DEQ Pollution Prevention Champion status for their efforts and in 2014 they earned RRR Sustainable Business Leader recognition through the popular program at Jackson’s Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling.
What efforts make Silver Star a “green business”?
Back in 2010, they conducted a waste audit to track the amount and type of waste generated and to identify opportunities for reduction. They increased their recycling of all materials including electronic waste and were able to reduce their trash output by half. They replaced disposable paper and plastic kitchen products with reusable kitchenware; replaced all paper towel holders that dispense individual, loose paper towels in the bathrooms with hard roll holders that dispense a pre-measured length of paper towel; and had a paper reduction awareness campaign that included replacing magazine and catalog subscriptions with digital versions and printing on both sides of paper. Over a period of 6 months in 2010, the company reduced its copy paper use by 73%, approximately 127 reams of paper!
Additionally, Silver Star Communications implemented a preferred purchasing policy outlining a mandate to use environmentally friendly products with the least shipping distance whenever possible and reasonable. The company replaced 100% virgin copy paper with 50% post-consumer recycled paper, replaced tri-fold 100% virgin paper towels with 40% post-consumer waste hard roll towels, purchased refurbished ink toners, replaced toxic chemical cleaners with environmentally-friendly alternatives, and replaced 100% virgin toilet tissue with 60% post-consumer waste tissue.
Silver Star Communications replaced all of its T12 fluorescent lighting with more energy-efficient equivalent T8 bulbs, estimated to reduce power consumption up to 40%. According to ENERGY STAR, lighting can account for 20% to 50% of electricity consumption. This means that significant cost savings can be achieved with energy-efficiency improvements, and due to continually improving equipment, lighting usually provides the highest return-on-investment of major upgrades. Silver Star Communications also installed small windows in 18 garage doors in its warehouse, allowing for natural lighting. With the savings on electricity, the company expects to recoup installation costs within 4 years.
As a part of doing business, Silver Star Communications employees drive extensively between corporate offices in Idaho and Wyoming. To reduce travel, the company has installed a video conference system and encouraged employees to carpool between both corporate locations. Estimated minimum annual savings from just its Idaho employees using alternative transportation include the equivalent of 24,000 vehicle miles traveled, 22,920 pounds of pollution, and 64.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Additionally, the company uses a personal incentive program to encourage employees to carpool to and from work, entering employees into a prize drawing each time they carpool.
Silver Star Communications has been a long time business sponsor and supporter of Teton Valley Community Recycling. They also were a keystone sponsor of the Victor Tool Lending Library. Thank you and keep up the great work!