by Travis Welch, WMI Program & Retail Store Manager
The NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute is always looking for ways to improve. Many of our innovations come in the form of curriculum, delivered to thousands of students every year. However, we also have an operations side that is the “behind the scenes” part of the business and makes it possible to run 750 courses a year. On the surface, innovations on the operations side of things might not seem as exciting as curriculum delivery, but the impact can be significant.
Recently, NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute switched from shipping our gear in cardboard boxes to heavy-duty, reusable, plastic shipping totes. These totes, used for our Wilderness First Aid courses, will decrease our cardboard box consumption by over 1,000 boxes a year. This will also decrease the amount of other shipping materials that we use. The initial cost of these totes is greater than cardboard, but they will pay for themselves over the next several years. Although the fiscal payoff will take some time, the waste reduction and resource conservation are enough for us to count this change as an immediate win!