Powers Distributing is a locally owned and operated Michigan beer wholesaler that’s been in business for more than 70 years. Owned by co-presidents Robert and Gerald Powers, the company is committed to sustainable business practices that protect the environment and reduce its carbon footprint.

The company’s temperature-controlled warehouse is dedicated to efficient material handling and comprehensive recycling efforts. While the state of Michigan has a forced deposit system on aluminum and glass, Powers Distributing’s recycling operations are much more comprehensive. In addition to glass and aluminum, the company also recycles cardboard, plastic bottles, plastic wrap, stretch film, office paper, shop metal and wooden pallets. The warehouses is also efficient — it includes automatic shut-off lighting and storage space for unpasteurized product — and its grounds are irrigated by a storm water run-off collection system to recycle rainwater.

Efforts to conserve energy in the office are also under way. The company is replacing high-intensity discharge light fixtures with T5 fluorescent fixtures, and the office’s T12 fluorescent lights will be replaced with T8 lamps with electronic ballasts.

“This group of people here is really taking the environment seriously,” says Gary Thompson, COO of Powers Distributing.

Powers Distributing has more than 70 vehicles in its fleet, and the company has taken its environmental commitment to the road. In fact, in 2009, Powers Distributing became the first beverage wholesaler in the United States to convert 50 percent of its delivery fleet to a more fuel-efficient hybrid route tractor. Currently, the company has 20 hybrid tractors on the road, and, when weather permits, all of the vehicles are fueled by B20 biodiesel.

“A big piece of responsibility for a beer distributor is its fleet. Each one of our trucks should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 53 tons over the life of the truck,” says Thompson.

In addition to its green delivery fleet, Powers Distributing also has an eco-friendly sales fleet. In 2007, the 23-person off-premise sales team traded in its V8 cargo vans for four-cylinder Saturn Vues and flexible-fuel vehicles, and in 2008, the sales management team began driving hybrids.

Delivery Fleet Manager Joe Dinverno says that if you believe you can make your company more eco-friendly and sustainable, then you’ll find ways to make it work: “You’ll have a return on your investment, you’ll give something back to the community, and it’s plain the right thing to do.”

Want to learn more about Powers Distributing and its sustainable business practices? Visit the company’s website at powersdistributing.com.