Lamey-Wellehan has worked on sustainability for many years. Back in 1993, a company-wide recycling program was launched, with the goal to reduce, reuse or recycle as many items as possible. Most shoe packaging components are tossed in the trash so we started a program to collect and sort those items. Wrapping tissue and cardstock is recycled, silica gel packs were collected and reused, even shoe sticks were collected for a local greenhouse. From shipping cartons to drink cups, our associates recycle over 90% of all the material that comes into our stores.
In 1994, Lamey Wellehan was issued the Governor’s Waste Management Award in recognition of our efforts. Our focus continued and attention was made on how materials are sourced and used with store construction and updates. Where possible, store fixtures were refurbished rather than replaced, carpeting was made with recycled content and advanced lighting controls were used, among other things.
In 2003 Lamey-Wellehan joined the Governor’s Carbon Challenge, and has worked hard at changing light fixtures to high-efficiency LED units and installing programmable thermostats. We worked to identify where insulation could be increased, up to R-40 in the roofs and R-20 in the walls. Most importantly, we launched an internal program to track all carbon emissions.
Noting how many plastic bags were being dispensed at our stores, in 2006 we switched to bio-degradable, vegetable-based plastic shopping bags and in 2015 we eliminated bags altogether, becoming one of the first retailers in Maine to eliminate bag use. Our annual college scholarship was increased, using the money that previously was being used to purchase those shopping bags.
Jim and his wife Kathy Wellehan were honored with the Natural Resources Council of Maine 2014 Conservation Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award for demonstrating that what is good for the environment is good for business.
Cool Communities: The company has taken a leadership role in our communities, and introduced Cool Communities to both Lewiston and Auburn, and helped develop the effort on a state wide basis. For this effort, Jim Wellehan was awarded the Sierra Club Business Leader of the Year in 2007. In this process, he has given lectures at various conferences on energy reduction.
The Maine Difference: Uniquely, Lamey-Wellehan has provided a four-year scholarship (The Maine Difference Scholarship) for a young Maine person committed to Maine’s economy or ecology. With the money we previously spent on shopping bags, this program has been increased to three renewable scholarships per year.
On the Federal level, the company participated with EERE, a program to provide leadership and direction in retail energy matters, and Jim Wellehan was excited to participate in this very worthwhile activity.
Lamey-Wellehan encourages all individuals and companies to make choices that will help insure a future for generations to come. Even little efforts will help!
Very easy things people can do include:
- Ride a bike instead of driving
- Recycling or reusing whenever possible
- Turn off unnecessary lights
- Keep the thermostat low in the winter and high in the summer