When customers, environmental organizations and government officials all line up in support of your new product, you must be doing something right.
That’s certainly the way John Barnett, propane program manager at U-Haul International, sees things.
“This hits home for me,” Barnett said.
U-Haul launched its refillable one-pound propane cylinder June 2-3 in California with kickoff events in Mountain View and Sacramento. Refillable tanks with a 12-year certification life are now available at U-Haul-owned and -operated stores throughout the Golden State where propane is offered. The refillable one-pounders (priced at just $11.95 with $1.95 refills) will soon be available nationwide.
“I’m originally from California,” Barnett told a crowd of elected officials, Cal Recycle representatives, the California Product Stewardship Council and U-Haul Team Members in Sacramento. “I used to surf up and down the coastlines growing up, and I would always see disposable propane tanks (littered) along the beach. They go in our landfills. I recognize it’s a big problem.
“For the past year, I’ve been able to work on something that’s pretty close to home for me. It’s personal. So I’m very excited to be able to launch this new program in California.”
An environmentally friendly product that addresses the cooking, heating and lighting needs of everyone from campers and hikers to tailgaters and ice fishermen has the popularity of U-Haul refillables on the rise. The CPSC has focused its “Refuel Your Fun” campaign, designed to get Californians to switch from archaic and harmful disposables to green refillables, on the new U-Haul one-pounder.
Public officials in the Palo Alto-Mountain View-Sunnyvale corridor were eager to throw their support behind U-Haul and “Refuel Your Fun” at the June 2 event.
“This is about providing a safe alternative for disposable propane containers,” Pat Showalter, Mayor of Mountain View, said. “This is really appropriate that we’re doing this in Silicon Valley because although we’re known as the center for innovation and high tech, we’re really the center for … environmental protection as well. This is a grand example of that.
“I want to thank U-Haul for stepping up. It’s great to have a nationally distributed partner assist us.”
Jim Griffith, Sunnyvale Councilmember and Chair of the Santa Clara County Recycling and Waste Reduction Committee, added: “Some 4 million (one-pound disposables) are purchased every year in the state of California. Just in a 12-month period of Santa Clara County, almost six tons of these canisters were disposed of in a landfill. That’s bad, not just because of the quantity going to the landfill, but … they are hazardous materials and they tend to do things like explode at the SMaRT (Sunnyvale Materials Recovery and Transfer) station. This is not a good thing. Propane cylinders simply do not belong in the waste stream, which is why moving toward refillables becomes more important.”
Sacramento public officials echoed the need for U-Haul refillable cylinders one day later.
“I’m delighted to be able to say that this county is very supportive of this effort,” said Don Nottoli, an established member of the Board of Supervisors for the Fifth District of Sacramento County. “Here in Sacramento, where we roll it out, hopefully we set an example statewide, in the region and nationally.”
Asael Sala, Deputy District Director for Sacramento Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, presented U-Haul and CPSC with a Certificate of Recognition from the Assembly for encouraging Californians to make the switch.
“It brings me great pleasure to be here on (McCarty’s) behalf and to recognize the efforts that U-Haul and the Council have done, including Cal Recycle, in truly a public-private partnership that has been working,” Sala said.
A number of enthusiastic customers took advantage of U-Haul promotions to exchange their disposable one-pounders for a new refillable cylinder or a VIP coupon for a free refill, depending on how many disposables they exchanged.
Barnett deemed the product launch a success and looks forward to introducing the U-Haul refillable one-pounder to the rest of the U.S. and Canada in the near future.
“For U-Haul, it really means sustainability,” Barnett said. “We are a sustainable company. Our truck- and trailer-sharing operations is a big part of our business. Most people know us for that. But then it comes down even to our packing peanuts that are biodegradable. You can eat our packing peanuts. Our boxes are recycled cardboard. We have a Take A Box, Leave A Box campaign. Our furniture blankets are all made out of recycled denim.
“Propane is just a sustainable part of our business. We’re the largest retailer of propane in the nation. So the one-pound refillable really hits home for us as a company, too.”
Will you be making the switch from disposables to refillables? Tell us what you think of the U-Haul refillable one-pound propane cylinder in the comments box below.