Delta Dental yields big savings by 'going green'

Delta Dental is touting the advantages -- financial and otherwise -- of "going green," starting with the elimination of disposable paper cups at its headquarters office.

"This one little change -- asking employees to use mugs and travels cups -- already has saved about $30,000 annually," said Gary D. Radine, president and CEO of Delta Dental of California, Delta Dental of New York, and several other Delta Dental companies, in a press release. "We knew there would be some savings possible, but to see how quickly little things add up is inspiring us to look for more ways to help the environment and save at the same time."

Not content with eliminating coffee cups alone, Delta Dental went on to retrofit light fixtures at its Mechanicsburg, PA, location, racking up annual energy savings of about $29,000, the company said. Another $167,000 in savings occurred when the affiliated companies undertook a variety of paper-reduction efforts, such as producing an electronic annual report and eliminating carbon-copy forms and other printed items.

While the overarching goal of Delta Dental's green program is to conserve resources, as many other companies are doing, the company said it is re-examining common practices to see what simple changes might lead to new savings in both energy and expense.

"We've taken big steps too, like constructing a 'greener' facility in Georgia and switching our paper supply to conserve wood stock and cut down on carbon emissions," Radine said. "It's the easy things, though, that make for easy decisions to do the right thing, and we'd love to see other companies get inspired to make similar changes."

Delta Dental's "green program," implemented in all of its offices, was developed in partnership with iReuse, a sustainability consulting firm. The program covers everything from small-scale waste reduction and recycling measures to large-scale projects, such as certifications for sustainable business programs.

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