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Vital Green

Welcome to Vital Green! Our pioneering program does 4 good things:

  1. Fights global warming by offsetting the impacts of shipping.
    Click for details.
  2. Employs innovative SeaSaver™ boxes for most of our shipments. Click for details.
  3. Enables recycling of foam shipping cubes via our innovative FREE CubeCycle™ program. Click for details.
  4. Promotes sustainable foods and business practices, and supports organizations dedicated to sustainability. Click for details.

The story behind Vital Green™

Since our first day in business — long before earning certification as a "B Corp" — we've sold only sustainably harvested seafood, donated a portion of our profits to planet-protecting programs, and tried to go "green" in other ways. Read on to learn more, or see the summary below.

Randy Hartnell,
Founder/President and former Alaska 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.

Offsetting our carbon emissions by reducing methane emissions
Working through NativeEnergy, Inc., we’re supporting the Southern Ute Natural Methane Capture and Use project. 

Tribal lands lie within the San Juan Basin in southwestern Colorado, which is rich in fossil fuel resources that have been a source of coal, uranium, and natural gas for many decades. (The tribe does not mine any coal on its lands)

In certain areas, coal seams emerge from the surface of the ground, allowing methane — a potent greenhouse gas — to seep into the atmosphere.

A group of 28 wells is used to capture some of this seeping methane before escapes to the atmosphere. The methane is then compressed and piped into the natural gas distribution grid.

This means that the captured methane gets burned either for heat or power generation, which cuts a portion of the greenhouse gas pollution from coal outcroppings on tribal land.

This project will initially capture and destroy 23,000 metric tons of seeping methane annually — an amount that will eventually grow to 60,000 metric tons.

Past methane emissions reductions have been verified to the Verified Carbon Standard t5(VCS), as will present and future reductions.

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 carbon-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.

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About our SeaSaver™ packaging

Our SeaSaver™ shipping boxes are 100% recyclable

  • Recyclable Cardboard Outer Box: Made with 53% postconsumer waste, our corrugated cardboard boxes are widely recyclable by curbside and drop-off recycling programs. While most recyclable materials end up in the landfill and don’t get reused, 93% of corrugated cardboard is recycled and can be re-pulped into new paper products up to seven times. This makes cardboard the most reusable consumer-based material in the world!
  • Recyclable Padded Insert: Made from 100% post-industrial, pre-consumer cardboard fibers and wrapped in heavy-duty Kraft paper, our insulated insert is widely recyclable alongside other paper and cardboard materials.


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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:

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. 


  1. Copy the FedEx address near you*, then click the link provided to view and print your shipping label.
  2. You'll be taken to a 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.)
  3. You'll be taken to a 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Cut out the shipping label portion of the page, which is everything above "Piece Description - Packaging".
  6. 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.)
  7. 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 to find the center's hours.

*Please Note: To Avoid a FedEx Pick-Up fee, you must take your foam cube to a drop off center.

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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

Vital Choice earned certification as a "B Corp" in August of 2014, partly in recognition of our green policies and practices:

  • 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.)
  • We offset the global warming effects of our shipments to customers by funding projects that either reduce carbon and methane emissions, or convert methane into renewable energy.
  • We use innovative recyclable/biodegradable SeaSaver boxes for most of our shipments.
  • Wherever possible, we adopt post-consumer paper and non-toxic, vegetable-based inks for packaging and printed materials.
  • Most of us work in home-based offices, eliminating commute-associated carbon emissions.
  • 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!
  • Compost the biodegradable pads inside our SeaSaver packages, and recycle the cardboard boxes. Reuse any EPS shipping cubes you may receive as storage boxes, coolers, building toys (over age 6), and planters. Or use our CubeCycle program (described above) to ship your cube to the nearest recycling center, FREE. (You can also find an EPS recycling center by clicking here.)

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