DALLAS — The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) has launched multiple sustainability initiatives in order to create long-term environmental change beyond just Earth Day (April 22).
"The Exchange is committed to providing a sustainable working and living environment for soldiers, airmen, guardians and their families." said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Osby, the Exchange's senior enlisted advisor. "The Exchange's sustainability goals directly improve the quality of life in our military communities, ensuring a clean and safe future wherever Warfighters serve."
The Exchange's in-store and real estate initiatives include:
- Recycling more than 7,000 tons of plastic, aluminum and cardboard annually.
- Collaborating with the Department of Defense to implement and maintain electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on CONUS installations, joining multiple other c-store operators making major EV investments.
- Replacing 455,000 fluorescent lamps in more than 160,000 fixtures with efficient tubular LEDs or TLEDs at 610 CONUS facilities.
- Installing efficient low-flow faucets in food courts during renovations and new construction, resulting in 30 percent in water savings annually.
- Designing and building stores to globally accepted standards such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification standards.
The Exchange also partnered with suppliers to offer more environmentally friendly products at PXs, BXs and ShopMyExchange.com. Some of those products and offerings include, among others, name brand sustainable apparel that uses recycled materials, eco-friendly, cruelty-free cosmetics and skincare products, and biodegradable cleaning supplies.
The organization's initiatives extend to its logistics operations and distribution centers as well. The Exchange has shifted to using self-inflating tire systems on trucks to increase miles per gallon, as well as replaced aging trucks with new model units pre-fitted with fuel-saving features.
These efforts not only reduce the Exchange's environmental impact, but also save money and resources, according to the organization. In the last 10 years, more than $3.5 billion in earnings have been reinvested into critical military quality of life programs, aided directly by the Exchange's ongoing sustainability efforts.
Dallas-based AAFES operates more than 4,330 facilities consisting of department stores, convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants, theaters and specialty stores on military installations with operations in more than 30 countries, 50 states and four U.S. territories.