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Zappos launches employee bike share program

Happy Earth Day! Cue the music! “Bicycle! Bicycle!! Bicycle!!! I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike…” (Queen: Bicycle Race. 1978)

The LEAF Team is excited to announce a new employee bike-sharing program at the Zappos corporate HQ! We purchased ten Electra Townie cruisers for employees to ride around and explore downtown Las Vegas. Employees are encouraged to go for a solo-ride, group-ride or team-meeting-ride during normal business hours. All they need to do is sign out a bike at our Z-Concierge desk in the main lobby and then they’ll be on their way with a helmet, lock and an awesome custom Classic Messenger Bag from Timuk2.

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There’s no better time to ride a bike in downtown Las Vegas than right now. It’s booming thanks in part to the Downtown Project’s revitalization efforts. There are many new shops, restaurants, bars and cultural projects popping up every month. Additionally, the City of Las Vegas painted a generous amount of bike lanes and installed more than 40 bike racks on the flat streets of downtown.

Conversations about a Zappos employee bike-sharing program started after hanging out with Timbuk2 in San Francisco and chatting about their successful public bike-sharing programs inside their retail stores. After a few more discussions, (and a few more beers) the kinks were worked out and the bikes were ordered!

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Special thanks to Timbuk2 for their involvement in our program and the sweet custom Classic Messenger Bags.

Check out more awesome news from LEAF at Zappos.com/LEED, Twitter: @ZapposLEAF and on Instagram: Zappos_leaf

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Two New Toyota Hybrids join the Zappos Fleet!

Zappos is excited to announce the addition of two new Toyota Highlander Hybrids to our fleet of shuttle vehicles. Zappos has a fleet of six vehicles and one bus. We use the vehicles to “WOW” our brand reps from Nike, Adidas, Frye, UGG, etc. with rides to and from the airport when they come to visit our Las Vegas HQ for meetings. We also extend the “WOW” to our employees who travel for work or need a ride to the doctor’s office. If you are a job candidate, then it’s most likely we’ll be picking you up from the airport, too!

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Zappos pledged to always give replacement priority to electric, hybrid, or CNG vehicles as the fleet vehicles reach their life expectancy. We’re conscious of the miles we drive and the more MPG we gain, the less emissions we produce. The two new Toyota Highlander Hybrids are replacing a Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon. In the fall of 2012, Zappos purchased its first alternative fuel vehicle, a compressed natural gas (CNG) Dodge Caravan.  The new Toyotas have a fancy vinyl wrap that turns heads constantly. The wraps prominently feature the word “hybrid” to demonstrate our commitment to cleaner driving to our customers, brand reps, employees, and fellow Las Vegas residents.

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Zappos has an awesome team of six drivers. Zack, a nine-year Zapponian, and Dennis, a seven-year Zapponian, were responsible for researching and procuring the Toyota hybrids. “It’s a better vehicle. It’s better for the environment. Employees are asking about the benefits of the hybrid engine and how it drives. They feel special riding in them. The hybrids were a great choice”, said Zack. Dennis commented, “Zappos leads by example and it was the right thing to do. In the long run, the extra cost of the hybrids will pay off for us because of the miles we drive. They’re by far the most efficient vehicles we’ve ever had.”

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Check out more awesome news from LEAF at Zappos.com/LEED, Twitter: @ZapposLEAF and on Instagram: Zappos_leaf

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Zappos LEAF Team Treks to Timbuk2

In mid-January, the Zappos LEAF team traveled to the Mission District of San Francisco to spend an exciting day at the Timbuk2 headquarters. Since 1989, Timbuk2 has been making some of the finest messenger bags, luggage and laptop bags on the market. The Zappos LEAF team was invited to visit the Timbuk2 office and factory to see first hand what makes these bags so unique and eco-friendly.

It’s all about the company culture. Timbuk2 was founded by a hardcore bike enthusiast, Rob Honeycutt, who started sewing his own bags in his garage. Twenty-five years later, the Timbuk2 crew is still making world-class bags inside a warehouse in the Mission District. Guided by their mission, To inspire urban mobility, enable individuality, and promote responsibility – we saw first hand that this company maintains the passion for quality and innovation by staying true to its roots and community.

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Timbuk2, Timbuk2 bags, Zappos LEAF, eco-friendly companies, sustainable brands,Timbuk2 San Francisco headquarters, cycling bags,

 Timbuk2, Timbuk2 bags, Zappos LEAF, eco-friendly companies, sustainable brands,Timbuk2 San Francisco headquarters, cycling bags,

The Timbuk2 office feels like a startup. The renovated warehouse has high loft ceilings, natural light and an open office floor plan. Teams sit in little clusters of desks across two floors. The employees on the upper floor need only to look over the handrail to see the teams below.  There are no offices or doors. CEO Patti Cazzato sits right next to everyone else. At times the office was eerily quiet while everyone was engrossed in his/her work, and at other times the office was vibrant, energetic and loud. The open office design was very familiar to the Zappos crew. At Zappos HQ in Las Vegas, our 1,500 employees sit in an open office as well. Read why we think open offices work for us here.

Timbuk2 has not forgotten its roots in the biking community. Just like the bike messengers of San Francisco, many of the Timbuk2 employees ride their bike to work each day. There is ample indoor bike parking inside the warehouse and a shower for sweaty commuters. Timbuk2 recently launched bike sharing in its San Francisco and Seattle retail stores. Customers can checkout a bike, bag, helmet and lock for the day by simply leaving their driver’s license and credit card with the store clerk. The bike-sharing program has been very successful and is a great fit for a company founded on bike transportation. The Zappos team took home lots of great ideas for starting our own employee and/or customer bike-sharing program in downtown Las Vegas.

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What’s really cool is that 40% of Timbuk2 bags are made right in their San Francisco warehouse, including 100% of the custom bags that you can design and order on Timbuk2.com. Custom-design bags are made in just minutes!

I had the amazing opportunity to design a custom messenger bag and then watch it get made right before my eyes. But the coolest part is the zero-waste philosophy of “Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle, Reimagine” First, the fabrics are cut perfectly to leave very little scrap material. The small amounts of scraps are recycled with Terracycle. Additionally, the Timbuk2 Lifecycle program encourages their customers to send the bags back to them for repair. If a bag cannot be repaired, Timbuk2 will recycle it AND send the customer a 20% coupon off his/her next bag. How cool!

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After an amazing day in the warehouse, the LEAF team and Timbuk2 team went out to the local bar to unwind and recap the day’s events. We talked about how our two companies – one twenty-five years old, the other fifteen years old – felt as young, passionate and determined as ever. We found so many similarities between the Zappos and Timbuk2 cultures – it’s like our companies were cut from the same cloth!

Check out more awesome news from LEAF at Zappos.com/LEED, Twitter: @ZapposLEAF and on Instagram: Zappos_leaf

SHOP TIMBUK2 >>

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How to dispose of fats, oils, and grease the Earth-friendly way!

The garbage disposal is a wonderful invention, but did you know some food waste is not meant to go down your kitchen drain?  Fat, oil, and grease (FOG) should all be kept out of drains and disposed of properly. Although FOG starts off as a liquid, it doesn’t necessarily stay that way.  Once they cool they often thicken and this has a number of side effects, from causing clogs in pipes and sewer systems to contaminating our water source. 

Most cities have water reclamation guidelines to help residents dispose of FOG properly.  Many of them request that all fat, oil, and grease be thrown away instead of washed down the sink.  After cooking, simply pour the excess FOG into a jar and toss it into the trash. Don’t have an empty jar?  A tin can filled with paper towels or newspaper works just as well. 

If you’re feeling super resourceful, try reusing the oil! Most fats and oils are reusable at least once more as long as they are kept refrigerated between uses. Reusing your oil may sound strange, but many chefs reuse oils at home. In fact, my grandma did this with bacon fat. Not only was it a money and time saver, it was also delicious!

Simply use cheesecloth to strain grits in the fat and then store the rest in the fridge. The grease can then be used in place of oil when frying or sautéing dishes and a quick search online will yield lots of yummy recipes posted by resourceful cooks.

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Here at Zappos HQ, the cooks in our Zappos Bistro keep the fryer oil out of the drain by recycling it with a local Las Vegas company. In 2014, our kitchen recycled more than 5,500 pounds of yellow grease and fryer oil. That’s 2.75 tons!

So, the next time you find yourself with any excess FOG, remember, save it in the fridge or toss it in the trash, but please don’t pour it down the drain!

 

Check out more awesome news from LEAF at Zappos.com/LEED, Twitter: @ZapposLEAF and on Instagram: Zappos_leaf

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2014 Children’s Recycling Art Contest Winner Announced

The following article is by Janet T.

It is crucial to teach our children the importance of recycling and adopting a sustainable lifestyle. Evidence indicates that this generation will have the greatest impact on the environment for the next 50-100 years.  Recycling reduces the amount of resources we consume and helps to remove toxic materials from production. Valuable resources are being wasted in landfills and large amounts of greenhouse gases are being produced as these landfills decompose.

In our efforts to encourage kids to keep the planet near and dear to their hearts, Zappos LEAF holds an annual Children’s Art Contest. This year, we asked kids to express “why they love recycling” through drawing. Up for grabs was a $50 Zappos.com Gift Card just in time for the holidays!

Zappos LEAF Team awarded 10-year-old Ethan V. a $50 Zappos.com Gift Card for providing us with a phenomenal picture describing why he loves recycling! We also wanted to give a shout out to his entire family, for all three lovely children participated in this year’s contest!

The 2014 Children’s Recycling Art Contest Winner

Thank you to all the kids who participated! Comment below and tell us why YOU love recycling!

Check out more awesome news from LEAF at Zappos.com/LEED, Twitter: @ZapposLEAF and on Instagram: Zappos_leaf

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Fall 2014 Updates

Hiya friends,

It’s been a minute since we updated the LEAF blog, but rest assured the LEAF team has been busy. Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve been up to so far this fall.

Grass removal project:

Our LEED Gold campus is 57% more water efficient (compared to the baseline model) thanks in part to the desert landscaping all around the building. However, we do have a patch of grass we call the “backyard”.  The backyard grass is nice for yoga sessions and petting zoos but since we aren’t utilizing all the grass, we just replaced a third of it with more desert landscaping.  Desert landscaping is easier to maintain and helps with water conservation.

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New Trane chiller with VFD and Free Cool:

In order to cool our office space we need big HVAC equipment, such as chillers. This fall we replaced an old chiller with a new Trane 550 ton chiller with a preinstalled variable frequency drive (VFD) and free cool system. The VFD throttles the machine up and down depending on demand instead of running at 100% all of the time. The free cool system should allow us to use outside air in the winter for all of our cooling needs – preventing the need to run HVAC equipment. It’s a big investment that will yield efficiencies and energy savings in the long run.

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Tech Department Coffee Mugs:

Our tech teams were looking for ways to reduce their use of disposable coffee cups so they bought a whole bunch of coffee mugs for their break rooms. The reusable mugs can be washed in our energy and water efficient dishwashers countless times; AKA less paper waste from single use cups. We applaud our tech teams for championing this initiative!

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SXSW Eco Conference:

The LEAF team visited Austin, Texas in October for the SXSW Eco conference. We enjoyed 3 days of awesome speakers, presentations, and networking. We were also proud to sponsor the 2014 SXSW Eco Ping Pong Tournament! There were some ferocious ping pong battles throughout the week, but when the dust settled, an app developer from Sweden, Henrik S., won the tournament and a $250 gift certificate to Zappos.com.

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VERGE Conference:

I’m writing this blog post while in San Francisco at the 2014 VERGE Conference. VERGE, put on by the GreenBiz Group, brings together experts who are integrating sustainability into cities, transportation, and technology. We’re here to pursue growth and learning! (Zappos Core Value #5)

 

Check out more awesome news from LEAF at Zappos.com/LEED, Twitter: @ZapposLEAF and on Instagram: Zappos_leaf

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Zappos Welcomes the “Do More with Less” Frog to the Box

In August 2014 a cute new friend made its first appearance on the iconic Zappos box. He’s the “Do More with Less” Frog, and his presence and message is to promote green thinking and sustainable behavior. He’s named after Zappos Core Value #5 – Do More with Less. You might even be reading this blog for the first time thanks to Frog! Woo hoo!

The new images of the “Do More with Less” Frog and the message of sustainability revolve around the “Three Rs” – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. At Zappos we understand that as our business grows so does our environmental footprint. We also know that our biggest environmental impacts are associated with our logistics – our boxes and our shipping practices.

Reduce – We realize that this is our job. We try hard to reduce the number of packages we send back and forth by offering features on Zappos.com to make sure you order right the first time. We also try to ship your footwear and apparel order in the right sized box. Sometimes when we’re operating at “ludicrous speed” (Spaceballs, 1987) we get it wrong and you receive a small item in a big box - we’re working on that.

Reuse – This is a chance for our customers to be creative and have fun with reusing our boxes. Have you ever used the box as a luxury lily pad like the “Do More with Less” Frog? Let us know the craziest way you’ve reused our box and send us a pic on Twitter (@ZapposLEAF)! We’ve also had discussions about whether or not returned boxes are fit to be sent out again. These discussions are healthy and lead to innovative ideas.

Recycle – We hope you’ll recycle your Zappos box once you’re finished with it. Cardboard is one of the most recyclable materials in the country and there is a flourishing market for it. If you’re currently an avid recycler – HIGH FIVE! If you’re not currently recycling, give it a try. If your neighborhood or apartments do not offer recycling, start that conversation with your neighbors.

As Zappos’ customer base grows, so does our potential to talk with many new friends about the impacts we all have on the world. We’re excited to Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication (Zappos Core Value #6) with you about your thoughts on the environment.

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Check out more awesome news from LEAF at Zappos.com/LEED, Twitter: @ZapposLEAF and on Instagram: Zappos_leaf

PS: Is the Frog a he or a she? LOL It is up to you to decide; all we know is that the Frog is pretty darn cute and has great eyelashes. Shoot, I have long eyelashes myself… and I’m a dude.

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Zappos Installs Solar Panels

Here comes the sun! - and Zappos is taking full advantage of the more than 300 sunny days a year in Las Vegas to generate clean electricity using new photovoltaic solar panels. For the first time in company history, Zappos installed 66 280-Watt solar panels creating an 18.48 kW solar array on the roof of our Z-Bistro

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Las Vegas is known as a solar hot spot with excellent solar radiation. The deserts around Las Vegas are home to some of the world’s largest solar arrays including the 64 MW Nevada Solar One power plant and the 390 MW Ivanpah Solar Power Facility. Additionally, many Las Vegas residents are adding small solar photovoltaic and solar thermal systems to the rooftops of their homes. That rocks!

The 18.48 kW Zappos Bistro solar project might be small in comparison to the ones mentioned above, but it’s our first step towards clean, renewable energy while our sustainability team researches larger solar installations. We certainly are proud parents!

Check out this sweet time-lapse video of the installation filmed by the awesomely talented Zappos A/V team.

Check out more awesome news from LEAF at Zappos.com/LEED, Twitter: @ZapposLEAF and on Instagram: Zappos_leaf