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Sustainability & Eco-Friendliness at the Basement

Posted by Erendira Garcia on

At Sports Basement, being green extends way past the color of our logo and into the very heart of our business. We’re not just green to get a fancy title or certification (although, we have won a few!). We’re green because that's just who we are. It comes naturally to us to make environmentally-friendly choices, because, well, we're real big fans of the environment. It's kind of our favorite place to be. That’s why you’ll see our funky signs on reused cardboard and all kinds of recycling collection bins to help divert recyclable stuff from landfills. We know our Basementeers are passionate about it too, since you've nominated more than 30 conservation organizations to become part of our Basementeer Beneficiary program!

Read on to learn more about what we’re doing to become a more sustainable, environmentally friendly company.

How you help us help the planet:

When you first walk into a Sports Basement store and take a peek next our registers, you’ll find quite a few collection bins for all kinds of things from corks & tennis balls to clothing & bar wrappers. (To see what your local Sports Basement collects just click on your store’s page!):

Aluminum lined & soft packaging (including Clif Bar wrappers!): Recycling chip bags or bar wrappers can be tricky, which is why Terracycle is taking care of it! Just toss those odd lil’ wrappers into our collection bin for proper recycling and divert 'em from the landfill. Since we started, we’ve donated 89,000 bags & wrappers which equals 7,400 boxes of Clif bars!

Bike tubes: Don’t get your bike tubes in a tizzy! Just drop ‘em off at the stores that collect them so we can send them to Colorado based organization Green Guru, which takes old bike tubes and turns them into bike gear & apparel. We also collect bike apparel, parts, and gear for Trips for Kids, an organization that gives kids the chance to ride bikes and get outdoors. Fun fact: our very own Sports Basement Outdoors General Manager Eden Slezin also turned bike tubes into his own high fashion line last year!

Clothing: Those old running shoes and worn out sweater are more than welcome here! The clothing we collect is donated to Recycle for Change, a Richmond based organization that provides grant funding for volunteers seeking to fight poverty in Africa and South America via education, disease prevention, and farming. The funding is done by reselling the donated clothing locally.

Tennis balls: The tennis balls we collect are given new life in a few different ways. Many of them go to reBounces who extend the life of used tennis balls by re-pressurizing them. When the felt is all worn out, they are chopped up and used in tennis court surfacing! Some of our stores will also donate the balls to their local animal shelter like the SPCA, or a local humane society so that pups can play with them. If that’s not a happy ending, we don’t know what is.

More: That’s not all though! We also collect things like:

  • Wetsuits
  • Batteries
  • Corks
  • Cell phones & small electronics
  • Yoga mats

With all of these collection bins, you can feel good about doing some decluttering because we’re making sure that they safely move on to greener pastures!

On the Sales Floor:

Anyone who’s shopped at our stores are familiar with our upcycled furniture and signs. Most of our comfy couches are donated to the store and tons of our furniture & fixin’s are made from upcycled materials (we'll talk about those a little later)!

But of course, we can’t talk about going green without talking about our refillable propane canister program. We sell the canister and the propane at cost and give Basementeers free refills every time they come to fill it. It seems like a small piece of the environmentally friendly puzzle but single-use canisters are often tossed into the landfill to sit there for eternity! Often, they're not entirely empty, posing all kinds of risks to us and the environment. The impact is actually huge: together, we have kept over 10,800 canisters out of the landfill so far! 

 

While you’re walking around the store, be sure to check out some of the brands we’re extra proud to hang on our racks. A customer favorite, Patagonia, does an excellent job at being environmentally and socially proactive. They’ve also launched Worn Wear which helps repair your gear so you can use it for longer and collects those that are at the end of their life so they can recycle the materials

In our everyday wear, you’ll also see brands like Aventura which usesustainable fabrics like organic cotton and rayon from bamboo. We also love the brands prAna & Toad & Co., both of which use recycled wool and polyester from plastic water bottles.

Near our registers you'll also find our favorite sunscreen, Raw Elements, which is reef-safe, natural and biodegradable. Got a hankering for a snack? Try Regrained Supergrain+ Bars that takes the grain that gets left behind when beer is made and turns them into nutritious super foods! Not only are they reducing waste, they're practically eliminating it with their 100% compostable wrappers. Talk about guilt-free snackin'.

Operations:

Whenever we’ve moved into a new space we never rushed to throw away everything the old tenant left behind. We keep what we think can be reused or serve a purpose (even just as decoration). For example, if you take a peek at some of the bases for our clothing racks you’ll see all kinds of odds and ends, like ice skates or old bowling balls. We think they look much better there than in a landfill. Our awesome Senior Manager, Stuart, has worked on over 600 fixtures since he started working here:

"I'm on fixture #625 and everyone of those fixtures has between 60-90% of reused, reclaimed, or recycled materials as part of their build. The casters, the screws, the wood, the weird & interesting stuff embedded into the cement based racks - it's all saved - all year - waiting for the next opportunity to become a Sports Basement floor fixture."

Some of the display tables you'll see at our new Redwood City store are made from old-growth Douglas Fir that came from the stadium benches found in Berkeley Iceland!

You'll also see that most of our stores use LED lights (which are 80% more efficient than regular ones) and eco-flow toilets. Little things like this make a huge difference!

 

Now, we’ll take you behind the magical staff-only door...no not that door, that’s the break room. We’re talking about the wonderful land that is the receiving department. While we’re unpacking all that wonderful new product, we make sure to separate out the cardboard boxes they come in from the plastic & other shipping materials. That way the cardboard can find new life on the floor as a funky sign and the plastic materials won’t find their way into the Bay. We recycle about 225 tons of cardboard every year! 


We’re super proud of our green practices and of all the awesome customers who participate in our programs, but we’re always looking to go greener! Got any suggestions for how we can make our business even more environmentally friendly? Leave us a comment below!


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8 comments


  • Right on! We humans really have responsibility to be taking care of our own foot print on this planet.

    Shu on

  • hi there, your video listed styrofoam as one of the recyclable items we can bring to sports basement but your list above does not include this. can you give me more info about what to do with styrofoam? thank you for all your efforts!

    Carol Tang on

  • Hi Wendy and Darryl, We currently only collected non-refillable propane tanks from our Bryant Street and Presidio stores which are picked up by Recology! Check out this awesome link for other collection sites for non-refillable propane tanks: https://sfenvironment.org/article/household-hazardous-waste-collection-programs-in-the-bay-area

    Erendira @ Sports Basement on

  • Love this! It’s super awesome. I will be recycling more items at my local store. Makes me feeling even better about being a Sports Basement customer!

    Tamara G Periconi on

  • Love this! It’s super awesome. I will be recycling more items at my local store. Makes me feeling even better about being a Sports Basement customer!

    Tamara G Periconi on


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