PG&E received an honorable mention award for green purchasing this month from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WasteWise Partnership. This national award recognizes the company’s green purchasing decisions, its improvement of energy efficiency in its buildings and facilities and its use of recycled and environmentally responsible materials throughout its operations.
“At PG&E, we have an unwavering commitment to the environment,” said Des Bell, PG&E’s senior vice president of shared services and chief procurement officer. “Beyond environmental compliance throughout our company, which is where our commitment starts, we are reducing our carbon footprint and embracing sustainable purchasing practices – both internally and with our suppliers.”
PG&E has benefitted from green purchasing practices – from its use of recycled-content office products to its operating policies – for many years. The company’s Green Supply Chain Program was launched in 2007. Working with suppliers, academia and other utilities, PG&E is taking a long-term approach to reduce the environmental impact of its supply chain, enabling the company to better serve its customers and to become an environmental leader.
Some specific actions include:
- In 2009, PG&E added the nation’s first all-electric bucket truck to its fleet, which is used to conduct routine and emergency overhead line work. The vehicle is emissions-free, stores energy as it stops through a process called regenerative braking, and reuses the stored energy for acceleration. The vehicle can travel more than 100 miles with one single battery charge.
- PG&E uses biodegradable oil in small distribution transformers. The fluid is 97 percent biodegradable within 21 days and does not contain any petroleum, halogens, silicones, or other materials that might harm the environment. In 2009, the company recycled more than 690,000 gallons of used transformer oil.
- PG&E continues to achieve environmental benefits and cost savings by receiving a growing portion of its primary underground electrical cable on reusable, returnable steel reels versus one-time-use wooden reels.
PG&E has been an active member of EPA’s WasteWise Partnership since 2005 when the utility began a food waste composting program for employees at its corporate headquarters in San Francisco.
EPA launched WasteWise in 1994 as a voluntary partnership program designed to help organizations implement practical methods for reducing municipal solid waste. The program has more than 2,000 partners nationwide and focuses on three elements of waste reduction – waste prevention, recycling and buying or manufacturing recycled content products.