Exchange Makes Sustainability a Priority in Serving Those Who Serve

DALLAS – The Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s commitment to sustainability extends far beyond Earth Day, making every day an opportunity to help make the planet cleaner, better place to live.

“Sustainability is core to the Exchange’s mission of serving the best customers in the world,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Osby, the Exchange’s senior enlisted advisor. “Making smart decisions today can help ensure military families enjoy a cleaner, healthier tomorrow—just one of the many ways the Exchange takes care of its military family.”

The Exchange’s ongoing sustainability initiatives include:

  • Recycling about 7,000 tons of plastic, aluminum and cardboard annually.
  • Replacing 500,000 fluorescent lights with more efficient tubular LEDs, or T-LEDs, at more than 160 locations and nearly 720 CONUS Exchange facilities—an effort expected to save approximately 51 million kilowatt hours per year.
  • Offering shoppers a 5-cent-per-bag credit for using reusable shopping bags, each of which can replace up to 250 single-use plastic bags throughout its lifespan.
  • Reusing apparel hangers to minimize waste.
  • Realizing 30% in water savings annually by installing efficient low-flow faucets in food courts during renovations and new construction.
  • Designing and building stores to globally accepted standards such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification standards developed by the U.S. Green Building Council and the Green Globe System.
  • Developed a comprehensive refrigerant management plan to manage the phaseout of refrigerants that generate harmful greenhouse gases.

The Exchange is also partnering with suppliers to expand the selection of sustainability-friendly products offered at PXs, BXs, including:

  • Sustainable apparel that uses less water in production or includes environmentally friendly materials (such as REPREVE®, a recycled performance fiber) from brands including Levi’s, Columbia, The North Face, Damsel Swim, O’Neill and Quicksilver.
  • Eco-friendly, cruelty-free cosmetics and skincare products, including vegan options, from brands such as Bravo Sierra, EcoTools, bareMinerals and Aveda and Farmacy.
  • High-efficiency Energy Star products, which include 50% of all major appliances, 100% of televisions and 93% of computers.
  • Energy-efficient LED lamps, bulbs and smart lighting.
  • Laundry detergents for use with high-efficiency washing machines.
  • Eco-friendly cleaning supplies from brands such as Seventh Generation, 9 Elements, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day and more.

The Exchange’s global logistics operation, which includes 10 distribution centers across the U.S., Europe and the Pacific and the 10th-largest private retail fleet in the U.S, is also committed to reducing its environmental impact, implementing sustainable practices such as:

  • Recycling 280 gallons of oil, 1,100 tires and 300 batteries annually.
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by using self-inflating tire systems to increase miles per gallon; installing trailer skirts and aluminum wheels to improve aerodynamics and reduce weight; and replacing aging trucks with new units fitted with fuel-saving features such as automatic transmissions, adaptive cruise control and optimized idle.

In addition to reducing the Exchange’s carbon footprint, these efforts save on energy, water and waste disposal costs, increasing earnings that support critical on-installation Quality-of-Life programs such as outfitting 700,000 Warfighters at cost annually, providing school meal support for Department of Defense Education Activity facilities overseas and delivering needed services to locations impacted by natural disasters. In the last 10 years, the Exchange benefit has provided $3.4 billion in earnings to these programs.

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