Welcome to Vital Green ... our pioneering program does 3 good things:
- Fights global warming by offsetting the impacts of shipping.
Click for details.
- Enables recycling of foam shipping cubes via our innovative FREE CubeCycle™ program. Click for details.
- Employs innovative boxes for a growing proportion of shipments. Click for details.
- Promotes a green partnership with green tips for you, and some insights into our steps toward sustainability. Click for details.
The story behind Vital Green™
Since our first day in business, we've sold only sustainably harvested wild seafood, donated a portion of our profits to planet-protecting programs, and tried to go "green" in other ways. Click for details.
Founder, President, former Alaskan fisherman
Keeping our "carbon footprint" as small as possible
A rigorous, independent life-cycle assessment of the carbon footprints associated with wild-harvested and farmed fish produced encouraging news.
Studies from Swedish and Canadian universities found that frozen, air-shipped seafood like ours entails fewer carbon emissions, compared with farmed salmon or non-frozen wild fish. (See "Frozen Wild Fish Found Greener than Farmed Salmon or Fresh Wild Fish".)In 2010, we started using 3-Day Ground for many West Coast shipments, maintaining quality by simply adding a bit more dry ice to shipments.
Then, in 2012, we started trucking goods from our Washington base to a Virginia facility, from where we ground-ship orders to most East Coast addresses. Because trucking burns much less carbon per pound versus air shipments, this initiative cut our carbon emissions quite substantially.
And the global warming effects of your shipment will be offset by our support for a carbon-sequestration project.
Vital Choice carbon emissions offset by planting trees
Working through NativeEnergy, Inc., we’re helping support the Oka Trees of Hope Project.
A Mohawk community near the town of Oka, Quebec, suffered greatly when livestock grazing and farming destroyed the area’s old-growth forests.
This created a desert, causing Mohawk roads and homes to get buried by repeated sand avalanches.
From 1888 to 1920, local Mohawks planted 100,000 trees, turning much of the desert back to forest.
But that work is far from over. The Oka Trees of Hope project sets out to transform up to 300 more degraded acres (mostly deserted farm fields and a defunct mine) into forest and fruit orchards.
The plantings feature a mix of native trees and a 10-acre fruit orchard, primarily apples, which will sequester 40,000 metric tons of carbon, help moderate global warming, restore biodiversity and wildlife habitat, improve air and water quality, and control erosion.
The project will also provide nearly 10,000 20-pound bags of apples to area schools and food pantries annually, jobs for local people, and opportunities for agro-forestry research.
Financial support from Vital Choice helps make the economics of the Oka Trees of Hope Project work.
Jet-related warming effects are also being offset
Our contribution takes into account the added warming effects of jet emissions at high altitudes … an effect called "radiative forcing".
Jet cargo and passenger planes cruise at high altitudes, where carbon emissions exert greater positive radiative forcing effect than would the same emissions at ground level.
We choose to cover the estimated additional warming associated with Vital Choice air shipments ... a choice that doubles the cost of our annual warming-offset contribution.
About our carbon-offset provider
NativeEnergy, Inc. is a for-profit company partly owned by the non-profit Intertribal Council on Utility Policy (COUP), an organization of Native American tribes.
NativeEnergy uses a unique "help build" model that enables carbon-offset clients like Vital Choice to help finance the construction of new renewable energy projects that need additional upfront funding.
By purchasing a share of a project's long-term offsets, we can help overcome market barriers that discourage the development of high-quality renewable energy projects, and thereby help reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.
To learn more about global warming and see links to independent information, visit NativeEnergy.
Back to top
CubeCycle sends your Vital Choice foam shipping cubes for recycling ... free!
Almost no municipal recycling programs accept the foam (extruded polystyrene or EPS) containers that we and thousands of other firms use to ship perishables.
Foam containers are relatively eco-friendly to start, as we explain below (click here).
But we weren't satisfied, and developed CubeCycle™ – America's first practical EPS-recycling program, to make Vital Choice a greener place to shop.
After many months of working with FedEx and plastics recyclers, our unique, innovative CubeCycle™ program helps our customers recycle their foam shipping cubes, at no cost.
Here's how to CubeCycle™ your Vital Choice foam shipping containers:
COPY OR PRINT THESE INSTRUCTIONS FOR REFERENCE.
To view nearby FedEx drop-off centers and obtain a FedEx shipping label for your cube, CLICK HERE.
You'll be taken to a page labeled Vital Green Step #1.
Fill in the information fields, then click "Continue".
You'll be taken to a page labeled Vital Green Step #2, where you'll see a list of FedEx drop-off centers in your area.
IMPORTANT: TO AVOID A FED EX PICK-UP FEE YOU MUST TAKE YOUR FOAM CUBE TO A DROP-OFF CENTER.
- COPY THE FEDEX ADDRESS NEAREST YOU*, then click the link provided to view and print your shipping label.
- You'll be taken to a FedEx.com Web page titled "Print Your Labels". Click the purple button labeled "Print Selected Labels". (Ignore everything else on the page, including the purple box labeled "Scheduled a Pick-Up for this Order?", as FedEx will NOT pick up your foam cube.)
- You'll be taken to a FedEx.com page that displays a pre-addressed shipping label for the nearest recycling center. Upon arrival at this page, you will see a pop-up message advising you to print the label and place it in an Airbill pouch. This is not necessary. Click OK to close that pop-up message.
- Print the page using an inkjet or laser printer. After printing the label, you can close your browser. You do not need to click "Continue" or return to Vital Choice.
- Cut out the shipping label portion of the page, which is everything above "Piece Description - Packaging".
- Remove all old labels and tape from the cube. Use clear packing tape to secure the lid to the cube, and to secure the FedEx shipping label to your clean cube. Cover the FedEx shipping label completely with tape, leaving the bar code fully visible for scanning. (NOTE: Ignore the instructions below the label telling you to pack the items inside another box, as this is not necessary.)
- Take your foam cube to the nearest FedEx drop-off center. To avoid a wasted trip, please confirm your chosen drop-off center's hours of operation before you go, by calling it or visiting FedEx.com to find the center's hours.
NOTE: After step 5, you will receive a reminder email from FedEx, which you can ignore and delete.
About our "SeaSaver" packaging
Since Vital Choice began shipping perishable foods in 2002, we've been committed to environmental sustainability in all aspects of our business. Along the way one of our biggest challenges has been finding a more eco-friendly shipping container that matched the beneficial cost, weight, durability, and thermal-insulating properties of expanded polystyrene (EPS) "Styrofoam" containers. And finally, we have.
Our 100% biodegradable "SeaSaver” packaging combines a soft, flexible, recycled cotton fiber pad covered with a tough, moisture-resistant film. It sits atop dry ice and inside a fiber carton that is fully recyclable.
We are committed to full adoption of this new earth-friendly packaging in 2015.
About our EPS shipping cubes
Polystyrene foam (EPS) shipping containers ensure that our highly perishable foods arrive in optimum condition at the lowest possible cost.
While EPS is not bio-degradable, these containers do offer some eco-benefits:
- Safe and light-weight (97% air).
- Insulates and cushions contents well.
- EPS is very strong and moisture-resistant.
- No green house (HCFC) gases are produced to make EPS.
- Minimizes energy for transport and reduces shipping costs.
- Can be recycled at some centers located around the country.
Back to top
Our green partnership with Vital Choice customers
To make shopping as "green" as possible, retailers and shoppers need to partner up. Here's what we do, and what you can do:
Our Part – what Vital Choice does to maximize sustainability
- We source ONLY sustainably harvested seafood species, and natural and organically grown farmed products.
- We process our seafood near the source. (Some seafood is shipped thousands of miles for processing in distant countries.)
- Our innovative VitalGreen™ program facilitates recycling of our EPS shipping cubes. We expect the program to serve as a model for other companies.
- Our VitalGreen™ program also offsets the global warming effects of our shipments to customers, by funding a family dairy farm's project to convert greenhouse gas emissions into renewable energy.
Click here for details.
- Wherever possible, we adopt post-consumer paper and non-toxic, vegetable-based inks for packaging and printed materials.
- Many of our employees work in home-based offices, eliminating commute-associated carbon emissions.
- Our Vital Choices email newsletter has minuscule environmental impact, compared with paper.
- We attend sustainability conferences and seminars to keep abreast of current environmental issues and solutions.
- We donate thousands of dollars annually to environmental organizations such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Marine Stewardship Council, the Raincoast Research Foundation, the National Resources Defense Council, and others working to protect our planet.
Your Part – suggested steps to support sustainability
- Reduce the number of shipments you receive by placing fewer, larger orders instead of more small orders. This typically lowers your cost per pound … try combining your orders with those of friends and other family members!
- Reuse the shipping cubes as storage boxes, coolers, building toys (over age 6), and planters.
- Recycle Vital Choice shipping cubes by following the instructions provided above.
Back to top