And we are doing it better than ever. We are on a one-agency mission to save the earth. That’s right, we have big plans and they are even bigger than the ones we had before. April 22nd is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and we are bringing our “A” game in the battle with plastic. The war is ongoing but we will emerge victorious. Yes, we recycle, but we do way more than that. We approach the war on waste from many different angles. However, we need your help … and maybe your time at the commissary to really make a difference. Earth Day first started in 1970 with a gathering of earth conscious people. It is now a global event. Earth Day advocates citizen science, clean-ups and tree-planting, huge events, and more.
Since 2005, commissaries have recycled or diverted almost 1.72 billion pounds of solid waste from landfills all around the world. Using a liquidation service to help sell out-of-use items, the agency has supported the environment by diverting 1.8 million pounds of used equipment from landfills. Our war on plastic started over a decade ago with a 2007 policy for eliminating the practice of double bagging. Last year 177 conus stores donating more than 4.5 million pounds of otherwise unsellable merchandise to 193 food banks across the nation so far this year, with the total expected to top 5 million pounds. In December 2014, we placed recyclable bins at all of our stateside commissaries for customers to use to return plastic bags for recycling. And, we added plastic recycling to all stateside recyclable contracts. In fiscal year 2014, DeCA recycled approximately 278,940 pounds of plastic.
To promote the benefit of saving energy and dollars, the commissaries offer patrons green products from energy efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lightbulbs, high efficiency (HE) dish and laundry detergents and reusable shopping bags to products with reduced packaging like paper towels and bathroom tissue without cardboard tube inserts. Moreover, DeCA has implemented initiatives to reduce customer usage of plastic bags. These include offering reusable cloth bags for purchase and promoting plastic bag recycling. All of our commissaries are currently promoting and selling reusable shopping bags and offer a variety of choices to include the promotion of seasonal bags. Patrons like yourself, favor the concept and even more can find a bag that best suits their preference.
When compared to commercial supermarkets, commissaries are about 40 percent more energy efficient, and annual water use has been reduced by 25 percent from 2007 levels. While our patrons take action on saving planet, we will be standing next to them. While certain action items take an act of Congress, much of our action take place at the local level. If you can, buy our reusable shopping bags with cool designs. We will continue to seek smart ways to reduce waste and reduce our environmental footprint. We hear from patrons almost daily that are concerned about their world. We want you to know we are listening and will do our part in pursuing a greener shopping experience.