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Challenges, problems, and triumphs -- from a manufacturer's perspective.

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Helping the World in More Ways Than One

Mrs. Grossman's, C&T Publishing, and Tara Materials.

by Staff Report (October 22, 2007)

Mrs. Grossman's.

Andrea Grossman is the pioneer of the sticker industry, starting her company in 1979 from her kitchen table. Today Mrs. Grossman's has 90 employees, a contemporary 110,000 sq.-ft. corporate headquarters, and eight state-of-the-art printing presses capable of printing 15,000 miles of stickers a year.

Mrs. Grossman's first sticker was a heart. Today that heart, whose shape has been trademarked, is the company's logo and represents the spirit of this company that has charmed the hearts of both children and adults for almost 28 years.

The company is unique in ways other than being "green." Mrs. Grossman's allows employees to bring their dogs to work, and believes that members of the same family work well together. Her son, Jason Grossman, is president of Paragon Label, a thriving label-printing company he launched 1998. Both companies operate side by side and share equipment and employees.

Mrs. Grossman's is the only company in the world to offer sticker factory tours. Each year approximately 40,000 visitors from all over the world take the tour, which has been called one of the best in the country by Better Homes & Gardens, Family Fun, and VIA magazines.

For more than 15 years Mrs. Grossman's has donated approximately 20,000,000 stickers to children in more than 300 hospitals and medical centers all over the world.

The company Mrs. Grossman's prints all its stickers in the U.S. in its own on-site printing plant. This control over the manufacturing process insures that Mrs. Grossman's products are 100% non-toxic, meet all safety regulations, and are consistently made from the highest quality inks and paper.

All of the sticker waste paper, up to 20,000 lbs. each month, is shipped to a processing plant in Central California where the waste is recycled and eventually processed into egg cartons, cereal boxes, and cardboard.

Mrs. Grossman's has installed a 300 sq.-ft. wastewater treatment facility in its printing plant. This water purification system removes ink solids (which are shipped to an EPA approved site) and cleans the wastewater. This water, which is regularly tested by a third party laboratory, is processed to the extent that trace metal levels actually exceed municipal drinking water standards.

Because all waste paper, cans, bottles, etc., are recycled. Mrs. Grossman's garbage usage and garbage costs have been cut in half.

All landscaping around the building is drought-tolerant and is irrigated with recycled municipal wastewater.

All warehouse lighting is motion-activated for additional energy efficiency.

The design of the printing plant is unique as vast skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows bring in natural light (quite a contrast to what one would think of as a typical printing plant). And because Andrea Grossman loves the water (she has spent more than one vacation in the Antarctic), she designed the glass-walled company headquarters on the banks of a protected wetlands and wildlife sanctuary located in Sonoma County's Schollenberger Park.

Mrs. Grossman's sticker "seconds" are shipped once a month to a non-profit, community-based organization that offers these stickers at a discount to teachers throughout California. The unusable stickers and cardboard cores are trucked back to Mrs. Grossman's to be recycled or reused.

In 2006 and 2007, Pacific Gas & Electric awarded Mrs. Grossman's the Innovative Leadership award for energy conservation; by reducing energy usage during critical times, the company was able to assist PG&E in its own energy-saving practices

In 2007, the Child Life Council of American presented two companies with the coveted Spirit of Giving award for outstanding contributions to children in hospitals: The Walt Disney Companies, and Mrs. Grossman's.

C&T Publishing.

The company has about 50 employees in the Concord, California offices. and has jumped on the "Going Green" bandwagon. The employees are finding a variety of ways to embrace the movement:

CEO Todd Hensley has made this a high priority for the business in the future. The staff has analyzed the office, including having inspections from the energy provider and a city organization that certifies green companies. Some of the achievements:

1. An inner-office recycling plan, recycling everything from paper to packing materials and from bottles to bolt cores, reducing the amount of solid waste.

2. Utilizing all battery, toner, light bulb, and eWaste recycling options and ask that employees bring in their home recyclables to ensure they donšt end up in a landfill.

3. All cleaning products used in the building are environmentally friendly, including hand and dish soap.

4. Carpets are cleaned with Naturell carpet cleaner, a 100% organic natural cleanser made from sea kelp.

5. Installed a reverse-osmosis water purifier, eliminating both the need for bottled water delivery and the environmental impact of driving those bottles to the offices.

6. Toilets were replaced with high-efficiency toilets, and the company paid to properly dispose of the old toilets.

7. Employees reuse or recycle incoming cardboard shipping boxes.

8. Office printing is done on recycled paper, and there is a strong paper-recycling process. Waste paper is recycled, of course, but employees print double sided, and create notepaper out of any paper that has printing on only one side.

9. Eliminated all disposable cups and silverware.

10. Has passed the inspections necessary to ensure that C&T is meeting the energy-saving requirements for [PG&E low-energy standards].

11. The company converted forklifts to propane and have an electric lifter for less pollution and energy efficiency.

These efforts have already saved C&T thousands of dollars in water, paper, and energy. Now the company is looking into earth-friendly ways of printing and finding more "green" ways of operating; for example, C&T will be offering e-products as an alternative to printed books.

Tara Materials.

Once they learned of two projects in particular, Tara's Michael and John Benator made it a point to donate canvasses to them, in addition to other art groups, non-profits, and schools.

Two groups are The Atlanta Fine Arts League (www.AtlantaFineArtsLeague.org) and Project Compassion. Both groups involve professional artists who have donated their time to paint portraits of U.S. servicemen who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Recently there was the opening of the Art from the Heart exhibit, in Atlanta. To see the exhibit's paintings, "Portraits of Georgia's Fallen Heroes" visit www.atlantafineartsleague.org/artfromtheheart.html.

(Note: Is your business doing anything in particular for charities or the environment? Tell CLN so it can be shared with the industry. Email mike@clnonline.com.)



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