REDUCING OUR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
The life cycle of The Thirty-First Co. depends, to a large degree, on whether we can reduce our impact on the environment. This means auditing the brands we sell, used items versus new items for sale, how we package and ship, and examining how we use resources at our hub. A net-zero waste and net-zero carbon goal is one we wish to achieve in the future as we grow. As a small, family-run mom and pop, we have the best opportunity to run an environmentally friendly business since we are on such a small scale and use much less resources. We feel it’s our duty to meet these environmental needs, and for a large part, we have and will, as we continue forward.
The Brands We Sell
It’s hard to find many brands that put the environment first, or if at all these days, but we look to find the ones that do. On top of that, we try to find items that are durable and are made from quality materials. That means fast fashion items are out of the question. If we believe a brand is unethically producing their clothing or producing clothing harmful to the environment, we won’t consider them for re-sale either. It’s a continual auditing process on our end to do the research and find the best brands for our consumers with the environment in mind.
Selling Used vs. New
Our guideline for purchasing has been the same when it comes to selling new items versus used items since we first started in 2016. Buying used clothing for many obvious reasons is better for the environment, as it keeps them from hitting the landfill and spares additional carbon waste and packaging waste from a new item being produced. Our budget moves towards purchasing used items first, while a smaller percentage goes towards new items with long-lasting durability in mind.
How We Package & Ship
Though the majority of our packages are shipped via USPS, a smaller percentage ships through other carriers (20% or less yearly). USPS continues to work towards reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, as they have been doing year-over-year since 2008.
The majority of our packages are simply picked up by USPS during their daily mail routine, as to not emit additional unnecessary greenhouse gases. A smaller percentage of packages that are delivered directly to USPS facilities (or other facilities) are shipped using small-engine vehicles that incur up to 110mpg as opposed to typical motor vehicles that get around 35mpg.
Our packaging for each item is kept minimal to reduce any unnecessary waste. We have replaced all synthetic shipping bags with The Better Packaging compostable bags. These shipping bags are partly made from plants, feel and behave exactly like plastic, except when disposed of are biodegradable with no toxic residues or micro-plastics. They are 100% compostable in community compost bins or individual residential bins. Paper shipping slips and cardboard brand tags included with each item are of course biodegradable as well.
How We Use Resources At Our Headquarters
One long-term goal is for our business to run on 100% solar energy. Within the next ten years we plan on implementing solar panels to keep us completely off the grid and using only renewable resources to run our operation.
Reducing our energy and water waste when cleaning items is a top priority for us. Although not all our used items need to be laundered, a small percentage do. Therefore we use energy-efficient Bosche machines that reduce energy and water usage, while all items are air-dried further. Items that are laundered use cold water only.
Small Steps Towards A Cleaner Future
We are a small operation here at The Thirty-First Co., and although these subtle environment-first changes may seem small in the grand scheme of things, we want to remind you - the consumer - that every little bit counts. We’re going to continue to work towards our goal of becoming net-zero waste and carbon free as we move into the future.