How did this happen?
In reflection, it happened one tiny step at a time, then a giant leap. It started with our realization that as a person on this Earth one needs to begin to respect our planet or suffer some consequences. We have been practicing Green practices at our home for some time… now our choice as a business in Marin was to try to make a difference and to minimize our impact on the planet, in a bigger way.
We started by placing light switch timers on each aisle, using the correct ballast and fluorescent light bulbs. When the fluorescents burn out, we dispose of them (at a cost) at the local hazardous waste drop-off. Our outside building lighting is also on-timer. The basic idea is to use lighting wisely, and only when you need it.
We realized we needed to take a hard look at the products we use. At Bellam Self Storage & Boxes we use environmentally friendly paint. As a self storage facility, we have a firm policy that hazardous materials may not be stored on the premises. We sell and use a non-chemical cedar spray, which repels pests, etc. Our customers use this product in their storage spaces and at home, thus continuing with our unblemished record, keeping us pest free.
Our roof has been coated with a spray foam product that insulates the building from all extreme weather conditions; we also have inside fiberglass batt insulation. Our building maintains a moderate temperature year round, without A/C, aided by its cement construction. Our concrete walls also help us avoid moisture or dampness issues common to storage facilities built with other materials.
We have low-flow toilets and sensor faucets in our tenant/customer restrooms. Our restrooms are supplied with brown unbleached hand paper towels. All cleaning products used are Green products.
Our landscaping is on the drip irrigation system and our planters are planted with drought-resistant plants.
When our business is closed we turn off all unnecessary printers and computers, lights, and reset the thermostat. We have chosen equipment which is energy efficient. None of our copiers/printers use toner. We drop off used printer cartridges at Office Depot or Staples depending on the latest recycling promotion. We use printer paper made from recycled paper; any discarded paper products are shredded into packing materials or discarded in the Blue Paper Recycle Can. We promptly remove our company name from junk mail and junk faxes.
Many of our customers are using our automatic monthly payments, thus eliminating mailing invoices or late notices. Our mailing envelopes are purchased thru the Postal Service; in one process, envelopes are printed with return addresses, stamped, and made on recycled paper. Bellam Self Storage & Boxes use the letter size rental contract paper for all our customer storage contracts, vs. the traditional legal size contract used in the industry.
The retail part of our business is conducted with the same “save the planet” motivation. We coordinate our bulk box and supply deliveries to minimize trips from the warehouse. At the same time, the delivery truck picks up empty pallets from the previous week’s delivery, therefore eliminating a separate trip to just pick up empty pallets. Some deliveries are separated on pallets by flat cardboard, which we resell at a discount to our customers.
Our moving, post office & shipping boxes, are partially made from recycled paper products. All retail products which have been made with recycled products are signed accordingly in our store and on our website.
As a business, we have decided to help keep San Rafael litter free. We regularly walk our block of Bellam Blvd, Anderson, and Simms Street, and pick up improperly discarded trash on the street, in bushes, and in the alley. We have made every effort to enlist our business neighbors in this endeavor a commitment to keep our block litter free.
Once we felt that we had achieved our goals, and set up policies to continue to follow a green approach, we took the giant leap… investigating the Solar option. We did extensive research and found the correct company that could hold our hands throughout the many decisions, planning, paperwork, and installation process. Now we proudly minimize our power consumption while we generate power to cover that usage.
In closing, this benefits everyone because we believe that, if added up, these measures do make a difference. It all starts with a commitment to go Green, then you can make a difference.
Start by looking at your habits at home to become Green Thinkers and Doers, then move on to your workplace.
For our storage customers who want to donate some of their stored items, we have a list of charitable organizations they can call. Donation is one of the most generous forms of recycling. For any storage customers that need to dispose of paper-sensitive documents, we highly recommend the Marin Sanitary Shredding Service.
It is a GREAT feeling to realize that we can live in our community, be productive and not damage our environment. We thank our customers, tenants, and especially our staff for helping Bellam Self Storage & Boxes to evolve into a Green Business environment.