What the company does: Cox Printers is a full-service commercial printing company, based in Linden, NJ, that offers printing, mailing, graphic design, and typesetting services, as well as traditional and online marketing. Cox uses green and environmentally friendly practices and partially powers its systems with energy created by the company. Cox Printers was founded in 1907 and has 24 employees.
Best practice: Cox Printers has both a solar system and two wind turbines on the building’s roof, which create electricity to power their printing presses, as well as their graphics department. The wind turbines, which use magnets and turn at about four miles an hour, 24/7, were the first in New Jersey.
Cox Printers also recycles thousands of pounds of paper every year, along with all the aluminum, plastic, and glass used in the building, and tries to influence their clients to use reforested paper. By the end of 2013, the company hopes to add more solar and/or wind power and purchase the remaining carbon credits in order to be entirely off the grid.
The company’s green practices have inspired its own employees, who enjoy benefits like a roof garden, complete with tomatoes during the summer months. “There’s a really high level of pride among most of them to be part of this. And actions speak louder than words,” says company president Michael Kaufman.
Tips for implementing your own best practice: According to Kaufman, all businesses should strive to be green, no matter the industry. “You take care of your car by changing the oil, or if you’re in a business and you have equipment, you maintain the equipment. We take care of our body; we take care of our mind. Why don’t we take care of our planet?” he says. “Why wouldn’t you? To me, on several levels it just makes sense.”
Companies looking to go green should look first to their vendors, recommends Kaufman, whether that be companies that supply the materials or those that the company purchases its cleaning supplies from, and work with those that are as environmentally friendly as possible. “You should at least support others who are able to make that commitment,” he says.
Other small things companies can do to be environmentally friendly without heavily increasing their costs include using reforested paper, which only costs a dollar or two more per carton, cutting down on drafts, and recycling as much as possible. More can be recycled than you might realize: at Cox Printers, even their wood garbage skids are taken by a recycling company and turned into mulch.
Although spending money to become environmentally friendly comes with the territory, the return on investment makes it worthwhile. “I redid all the lights in my building: 180 light fixtures. Yes, it cost me money out of pocket. But I’m going to break even on that in three or four years. After that, I’m making money,” Kaufman says. “I’m investing in my own building. It might cost, but like anything in business, it takes money to make money.”