The company's Golden Isles Conservation Center won a 2017 Environmental Leader Award for using Italian pyrolysis technology to remove tires from the waste stream and break them down to their original components, allowing them to be repurposed. The judges called it an extremely valuable project that works to create a resource from an existing waste stream.
“By doing it in profitable way, we hope that we can create a marketplace where it’s attractive for people to recycle all these tires in an environmentally friendly way,” says Steve Bradley, assistant vice president of environmental sustainability for Cox Enterprises.
This year also marks 10 years of the company’s national sustainability program, called Cox Conserves. Bradley has been there from the start. Since 2007, he and his colleagues have completed nearly 40 alternative energy projects and saved 57 million gallons of water. “The value of our program is good for the planet, good for the bottom line,” Bradley says. “We need to make sure that all these endeavors have some financial component to them.”
Currently, the company’s goals are to become carbon and water neutral by 2044, and to send zero waste to landfills by 2024. Recently we caught up with Bradley to find out about how Cox is pursuing those goals, particularly for water, in fiscally responsible ways.
Have the goals for Cox Conserves changed over time?
Our second largest expense, other than our people, was energy so that’s where we chose to start. Jim Kennedy, the catalyst for this program and CEO at the time, wanted his legacy to be that Cox leaves the world a better place. After five years, just having an energy goal was not fully honoring that legacy. A lot had changed. We decided that we needed more disruptive and audacious goals so we expanded into water and waste.
How do you define ‘circular economy’ and what does it mean for your company?
This is probably very simplistic, but it’s using things to their fullest extent. We can’t continue, as a society, with this use-and-throw-away model.
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