by Laura, Marketing Administration Group, Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

While green may be the new black, it's more than just a color--it's a way of life. Celebrities, designers, cosmetic companies, even Wall Street, are embracing the color and taking an eco-friendly approach to the way they do business. From vegetable dyes and recycled plastic to solar power and alternative fuels, being ''green'' has entered the mainstream full-force, and earth-friendly practices have crossed from business luxury to business staple.

Fit to Print

For Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, a direct-marketing company and industry leader in the jewelry-making business, green has always been more than just a great color. The company has been thinking globally since they first launched in 1973.

The company's smart paper choices have, over the years, made a huge impact on the environment. Trimming the size of their catalog paper cuts back on the amount of paper, a small action that makes a big difference.

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads also uses a waste-reducing print method--rotogravure--on most of their catalogs, saving hundreds of pounds of paper each year. The print company they work with is one of the top-rated in the country for sustainability and environmental performance, receiving the highest possible score on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index evaluation.

E-Catalogs

Promoting greater use of electronic resources is an avenue many businesses are moving toward in an effort to conserve natural resources. Among the wealth of information available on Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' website is an electronic version of all active catalogs, offering customers the fun of the catalog with the ease of the web. The ''E-Catalogs'' are virtual replicas of the catalog mailers--you can even ''turn'' the pages. The products in the E-Catalogs are linked to the products online, making it easy to access more information about the products and to instantly add them to your ''cart.''
Waste Not, Want Not

As one of Southern Oregon's largest employers, the company uses its share of office paper, cardboard, plastic and aluminum cans--all of which is recycled regularly. Roughly 18 to 20 fifty-five-gallon drums of waste paper--including copy paper, magazines, return cards, envelopes and shipping orders--are recycled each month.

Cardboard boxes, weighing six to seven tons, are compressed and recycled every month. To avoid polluting landfills with plastics, Fire Mountain Gems and Beads recycles everything from Zip-lock® bags and bubble wrap to strapping tape and shopping bags. Wooden pallets are ground up and converted into biodegradable wood chips and mulch. Toxic materials such as spent batteries, solvents, paints and transformer ballasts are properly disposed of through the local Business Hazardous Waste Collection program.

Recycled materials are picked up, sorted and processed through SPARC Enterprises, a local non-profit organization that provides jobs to Oregon citizens with developmental disabilities.

Green Means Growth

The green effort continued to grow at Fire Mountain Gems and Beads with the addition of the company's new warehouse facility, or Bead Bunker as it's known by the employees. The Bead Bunker's innovative design incorporates a variety of energy-saving features and was awarded a business energy tax credit from the Oregon Department of Energy.

The building has a row of skylights around the entire perimeter allowing maximum natural light to penetrate. Sensors installed throughout the building automatically switch lights on and off based on the amount of natural light and level of activity in the building. A night-purging air system sucks cool air in from the outside and releases heat from the inside for natural cooling during the summer months. The Bead Bunker is also double insulated to further conserve the energy used. Green and taupe coloring on the outside of the building blend with the environment, making it pleasing to the eye.

What else is new on the green?

Let us know how you are promoting ''green'' efforts, and give others in our community ideas on how we can all help. Please email us at questions@firemtn.com.

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads is committed to making a difference in the world and one of the ways they do that is by keeping the company ''green.'' Quality isn't just limited to the products they sell, it includes the quality of life for their employees and their vendors' employees, as well as the quality of the environment.



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