Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My Story of Why We Converted to Green Express Couriers

By Jay Holgate
Green Express Couriers

In 2005, three major storms collided and it completely changed my life and my perspective on the world. When my heart and mind changed, I made radical changes to my courier business. The reality for all of us is that the world is fine until a problem affects you directly. Then you make changes. This is my story of how I became involved in Atlanta’s environmental world.

Strike One-In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the northern gulf coast killing almost 2000 people, and destroying 81 billion dollars in homes and businesses. As the people of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi fled inland to Atlanta they were greeted by gas gougers who had bumped gas prices to over $3.50 per gallon . It disturbed me that as churches were volunteering and making resources available to help families that had lost everything, some unscrupulous businesses were trying to profit in their time of crises.

Strike Two- When the price of gas increased over a dollar a gallon in a short period of time, it created panic in Atlanta. Everybody started buying gas in case we had a shortage. I was leaving to go out of town on a Friday and three gas stations were out of fuel and at the fourth one, I had to wait 15 minutes in a line of cars with highly stressed out people to buy high priced fuel. At that very moment, sitting in that hostile line, I told myself I would do what I could to get my company away from dependence on fuel.

The following week, for my drive home from work, I put down the top on my car on Highway 400. When the traffic went bumper to bumper and stop and go, the fumes from all the cars and trucks were intoxicating. The smell of diesel and idling cars is a terrible smell. It’s hard to enjoy a car, the fresh air and freedom when you’re choking on dirty air.

Strike Three- Not long after my experiences with high priced fuel, gas shortages, and dirty air my wife and I started to seek out other areas for a better quality of life for our family. We soon changed our diet to get away from the preservatives and dairy products. We became a lot more conscious of clean water and clean air. In the process, I decided I was going to change my company. We changed to Green Express with an environmental message reflecting our core belief in doing the right thing. We started buying hybrid Toyota Prius cars; we moved away from paper and started e-billing, and started taking office waste to recycle centers.

Our Progess: So far this year, Green Express has reduced our paper consumption in the office by 75%. Through our hybrid cars, we have reduced consumption of gasoline by 650 gallons saving $1700 in fuel costs. By switching from tradional courier vehicle to hybrids, we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 30 tons. So we have reduced 30 tons of emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane from Atlanta’s air. Atlanta is excited about going green and we have picked up over 60 customers in a couple of months. Green Express is growing and plans on bringing on more hybrids by the end of the year as more new customers come on board.

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