It was a very special Earth Day 2016, not just for Dallas, Texas, but also for Cypress, California. While the Planet Experts team landed in Dallas to cover Earth Day Texas, Earth Friendly Products (EFP) was celebrating the grand opening of their flagship manufacturing facility back in Cypress.
The grand opening was attended by dignitaries from all levels of government and hosted over 300 guests. However, just like the facility itself, the event was deliberately planned to limit carbon and waste impacts on the environment by using recycled and reusable materials and utilizing fuel-efficient generators for off-the-grid power. EFP reports that over 85 percent of the waste from the event was diverted from landfills through recycling and composting.
President and CEO of EFP, Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, alongside Cypress Mayor Mariellen Yarc and Cypress Chamber of Commerce President Ed Munson, opened the festivities with the ceremonial ribbon cutting. Guests were then treated to a farm-to-table luncheon featuring sustainably produced and locally-sourced ingredients.
At the luncheon, the new facility received the highest possible distinction from the U.S. Zero Waste Council, the Zero Waste Platinum certification, which certifies that the facility diverts over 95 percent of its waste from landfills and incineration. EFP is the first company in the world to have all five of its manufacturing facilities certified Platinum Zero Waste. Those five facilities have been strategically placed across the nation to cut down on shipping costs and minimize the company’s carbon footprint.
David Levine of the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) spoke about the company’s dedication to sustainable business practices and Vlahakis-Hanks’ work in policy reform for ingredient transparency and stricter chemical regulations. Mike Fuhr from the Discovery Cube museums spoke about Earth Friendly Products’ partnership in their ECO Challenge interactive displays and their ECOScience outreach programs that bring green science education to thousands of schoolchildren each year. EFP then presented a $10,000 check to the Wyland Foundation for its annual National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.
The maker of ECOS and other environmentally friendly cleaning products, EFP is a leader in corporate social responsibility. The company is also a huge supporter of local economies, hiring locally, sourcing materials locally and paying one of the highest minimum wages in the nation ($17/hr).
“Unlike most of the cleaning products companies in the United States, we make products ourselves,” Vlahakis-Hanks told Planet Experts in an interview last year. “Most people use third-party contract manufacturers, they use overseas manufacturers, but we make everything ourselves in our five geographically diverse manufacturing facilities. And when you do that, you cut out the middle man. You build directly with a retail partner, so we’re able to keep our pricing excellent.”
Speaking on EFP’s dedication to corporate responsibility and worker appreciation, the CEO later added, “I think being a family-owned business has given us a lot of momentum and support – and, you know, you don’t just go to the work during the day and leave, but it is our lives. We do it in the evenings, we do it on the weekends – it’s who we are and what we do.”