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The FBI’s Peter Strzok spends 10 hours in open testimony in Congress. Also on the Friday rundown: Granite Staters protest AG Sessions' approach to fighting opioid abuse, and Latino Conservation Week starts on Saturday.

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Texas Company Helps Customers Contribute to “Earth Month”

April 16, 2012

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - April is "Earth Month," when the environment gets more of the spotlight than usual. One major Texas retailer is hoping its customers will pay attention - at the cash register. The HEB grocery chain tear-pad program makes it easy to donate $1, $3, or $5 to environmental causes while checking out. April proceeds go to EarthShare of Texas, an umbrella for 38 conservation groups that will use the funds for projects in or near the communities where the donations were received, says the group's co-director, Max Woodfin.

"Examples might be water-quality protection, tree-planting programs or rescue of wild animals."

HEB and its Central Market affiliates have raised $260,000 for the organization in recent years, Woodfin says, and this year all Texas HEB stores are participating. Customers tear off coupons from check-out displays, he explains, then cashiers ring up the donation slips alongside their other purchases.

HEB director of environmental affairs Susan Ghertner says the company wants to help improve the quality of life in the communities it serves. The April tear-pad program not only raises money for specific environmental initiatives but informs people, she says.

"It helps get the word out about the environment to our partners and our customers: There's this organization called EarthShare and this is Earth Month. It's a way we can help celebrate it - and educate."

She says HEB has also given away millions of reusable shopping bags to promote conservation, It will give away more on Earth Day - April 22 - when customers will be able trade five recyclable plastic bags for a reusable one.

EarthShare's Woodfin says in recent years some companies have practiced "green-washing" - superficially associating themselves with the environment - but he sees a trend toward a more genuine commitment to "corporate citizenship."

"We are seeing more and more corporations either adding sustainability departments or incorporating environmental concerns and sustainability into their corporate models."

Woodfin says HEB has routinely sought advice from his group about environmental matters. During other parts of the year, the company's tear-pad program raises funds for causes such as hunger, breast cancer and premature babies.

EarthShare information is available at www.earthshare-texas.org.

Peter Malof, Public News Service - TX