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The latest buzz from commercial printer's green initiatives: rooftop beehives

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Beehives are the newest green initiative for Linden commercial printer Spectra Media, which this afternoon plans to “harvest” honey from two hives that share space on the company's roof with solar panels, a wind turbine and a garden.

Michael Kaufman, president, said last spring the company partnered with Bee Bold Apiaries, of Glen Ridge, which brought two hives and about 100,000 bees to the company's roof. Kaufman estimated that each hive now has about 30 pounds of honey

He said the beehive collapse crisis prompted him to get involved, calling it "an enormous agricultural issue in this country." And the company's 25 workers enjoy the project.

Every two weeks when Bee Bold staffers come to monitor the hives, several Spectra Media employees join them on the roof and observe the bees at work.

"It has been a really fascinating experience — and nobody's gotten stung yet," Kaufman said.

The solar panels on the roof save the company about $500 a month on electric bills, he said, and the rooftop garden has emerged as a good place for small meetings with members of the staff.

"Our goal is to be a very green printer," Kaufman said, and the company has attracted new clients who like the company's efforts toward a sustainable business model.

Eric Hanan, co-founder of Bee Bold, said his company is 1 year old this month, and now maintains 30 hives at various locations in New Jersey, including the Hyatt Regency hotel, in Jersey City. He said Linden turned out to be a good place for honeybees.

"It is an urban environment, and they did surprising well," Hanan said "The bees forage more than two square miles in every direction. There is plenty to forage, and the bees figure it out," starting with dandelions and clover in the spring.

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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