Blue Back, Green Stores

The Blue Back Square shops hit the scene in West Hartford in 2007.  With them, they brought a modern take on maintaining the environment.

"One of the things we do that is really different, (is) we actually invite our customers to bring their recycling to the store,” Tom Neal, of Whole Foods, said.

Besides a place to grocery shop, Whole Foods is a drop-off location for number 5 plastics, energy-efficient light bulbs and even cell phones. Whole Foods will recycle it all.

Skin care store, Origins, has a similar program to accept all old cosmetics containers.

"We have an arrangement to have the packaging recycled so it doesn't go into the landfill, so we're really proud of that," Trenesa Stanford Danuser, vice president of global communications for Origins, said.

Janet Hansen, of Wethersfield, takes advantage of the program.

"I'm a very strong believer in recycling and, back when I first started buying from Origins, I was told I could bring them in," Hansen said.

Also, for every item purchased from the Origins "Perfect World" collection in April, the store plants a tree.

Over at REI, you'll see the end product of recycled items.

"You're going to find products that are going to be made from things like organic cottons or wools, all the way through to recycled plastic water bottles as well,” store manager, Jeremy Castle, said.

For instance, except for the zippers, one backpack was made entirely of recycled plastic water bottles.

At Blue Back’s Crate and Barrel store, there are furnishings made of everything from recycled glass to wood from sustainable forests.  And, there’s a demand for this.

"People are really conscious of the environment now.  We do find that people are coming in and asking specifically for what pieces of furniture we carry, what products we carry that are environmentally sound," said designer, Eileen Hogan.

They're all little steps the stores of Blue Back are taking to ensure a clean future for mother earth.

We're actually taking something back that we've already created and recycling it into another product," Castle said.

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