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Environmental practices help firms see green Companies find some rewards in adopting Earth-friendly policies

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Before introducing composting to the practice at Dynamic Engineering, John Palus, co-founder, exercised his green thumb at home. At the office in Monmouth County, he implemented high-efficiency furnaces, solar panels and ultraviolet coatings on windows.
Before introducing composting to the practice at Dynamic Engineering, John Palus, co-founder, exercised his green thumb at home. At the office in Monmouth County, he implemented high-efficiency furnaces, solar panels and ultraviolet coatings on windows.

Environmental consciousness is putting down roots in cubicles across New Jersey.

Whether it’s dialing down on electricity, buying fuel-efficient vehicles or composting leftover food, Garden State businesses are taking small steps to help the environment.

You might see the evidence if you stay for a meal at Pashman Stein, a Hackensack-based law firm.

“We have drastically reduced our use of paper supplies in favor of china and glass for all meetings and firm events,” said Norma Hernandez, Pashman’s office administrator. “We’re always very conscious about our surroundings and going green, and making sure we utilize everything to its full capacity or extent.”

Pashman Stein switched to fine china and glassware about seven years ago, a decision that served an additional purpose: underscoring the firm’s professionalism.

Payday is another front in the fight to go green, with digital pay stubs appearing in more and more e-mail inboxes. Angel Medical Systems, a maker of cardiac medical devices in Shrewsbury, adopted the practice in 2009 when it switched payroll providers.

“Everything is online after payroll is processed,” said Lynn Hancock, the company’s human resources manager. Employees can log in to the payroll site anytime they want to view their pay stubs. The company employs 35 people in its New Jersey office.

As a medical products company, Angel Medical Systems is required to adhere to best practices in quality management and compliance, and as such uses a digital document repository. “Everything is retained in a Web-based system, so we aren’t constantly printing and distributing documents every time there’s a change made to them,” Hancock said.

Managing endless reams of paper is a challenge for most businesses, especially in the heavily regulated sphere of financial services. Affinity Federal Credit Union has turned to technology as one solution.

“We gave each of our board members an iPad,” said Donna LoStocco, a senior vice president and member experience officer at Affinity, which employs nearly 400 people. “The reason we made the change was specifically because we did not want to print 20-, 30- or 40-page board packages anymore and mail them out.”

Affinity is also ramping up its usage of webinars to conduct staff meetings, LoStocco said. “You can be sitting in a meeting in real time instead of having to drive to Affinity’s headquarters in Basking Ridge.”

For many businesses, eco-friendly steps come with the benefit of lower costs, higher productivity and greater efficiency. But for some, being green also can be personal, as it has been for John Palus, co-founder of Dynamic Engineering, in the Lake Como section of Wall Township.

Palus had been composting at home for many years. Three years ago, he introduced the practice at Dynamic Engineering, which employs about 30 people.

“We have two barrels in the back that we rotate, and then dump the soil out (near) the end of the season,” Palus said, adding that composting is suspended during the winter because it is difficult to process.

Palus and co-founder Jeffrey Spalts own the building where Dynamic Engineering is housed, which has allowed them to emphasize green practices. They have installed high-efficiency furnaces and air conditioners, put ultraviolet coating on windows, and created an open floor plan to allow as much ambient light as possible. Last summer, Dynamic installed solar panels on the roof, Palus said. “We’re engineers, we’re doing land development, and we like our clients to see that we’re following what’s best for the environment.”

“We’re always looking for ideas,” Palus said. “It can be hard in the course of a normal workday because you’re focusing on your job and your business, but you have to take a certain amount of time to make sure you’re taking care of the earth. However you want to look at it, there’s just a better way to live.”

 

E-mail to: editorial@njbiz.com

Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@njbiz.com

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