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A proud member of our Green Business Network™ for the last 12 years, Stephen Baker of Greenline Paper says: "Green America means a lot to us because it embodies our national green community. Being a member means having a fraternity of businesses that have similar challenges and like-minded values. It’s good to have friends in the business."
We agree! In this month's interview, Stephen becomes the latest member of our national green-business community to respond to our interview questionnaire. Read on to find out how a trip to Central America inspired Stephen to plant a new green business in the middle of Pennsylvania, and how you can get your office "green certified" from Greenline Paper.
Green America: What does your business do, and what is your most popular product?
"The most important first step an office can take to become truly green."
Stephen Baker: Greenline Paper is a paper and office supply company based in York, PA dedicated to selling the greenest office-supply products. We started the business serving the local community but we now primarily offer our products nationally as well. Although our product offering has expanded greatly over the years, recycled-content copier paper is and always has been our largest selling item. Using 100-percent recycled copier paper is probably the most important first step that an office can take to become a truly green office.
What makes your business green?
Stephen: We sell environmentally sound products and we also try to walk the talk internally. One of our employees is a certified recycling professional and he set up our internal recycling program. We ship most of our orders in re-used corrugated cartons that we pick up from the local wine and spirits store and give them a “second life."
We also offer a Green Office Certification for businesses that pass a questionnaire on our website. They receive free a graphic for their Web site and a door/window decal (at right).
Here is Our Environmental Pledge: “At GreenLine Paper we pledge to meet our customers’ highest expectations for exceptional environmental products and practices. We are dedicated to the long-term success of paper recycling and support mills and manufacturers that show leadership in utilizing recovered or alternative fiber resources and in minimizing pollution in their manufacturing processes.”
What did you do before you started your green business?
Stephen: I was inspired to do something in the green profession during a visit to Costa Rica in 1992. There I witnessed some shocking logging and deforestation taking place even though that country has been trying harder than most to maintain their beautiful natural ecosystems. I decided then and there to act. When I got back to the states I visited the landfills, the paper mills and the recycling facilities to try to get a handle on where things were at with both resource use and waste management. Naturally what I found out was that paper recycling seemed to always take a back seat behind corporate profits. Paper mills, it seemed, were more interested in cutting down trees than recycling or developing alternative fiber papers. With every purchase that they make, our customers are environmental heroes.
What's been your proudest moment as a green business owner?
The Greenline Paper staff.
Stephen: We are still a small company, and not really on the national media radar yet, so we take much pride in the comments from our satisfied customers. We try our best to be a company that cares about every customer transaction and that means giving great service. Probably our proudest moment to date has been winning the Sustainable Business Network’s “People, Planet, Profit Award” in 2008. (We look forward to winning the People's Choice for Green Business of the Year Award from Green America some day!)
What's the next green step you're working on right now?
Stephen: The larger we can grow the business, the more positive impact we can have in the marketplace and for the environment. So, our plans include broadening both our product lines and our free-delivery zones into some of the larger metropolitan areas. Also more warehouse locations are in the works.
What is the most hopeful sign you have seen recently from the green economy?
Stephen: There was a wave of green interest in 1992 when we started the business. It was centered around concern about landfills filling up and the Mobro Barge was floating around in the Atlantic trying to find a place to dump its trash.
But today’s green wave is much broader and deeper. Green has become mainstream and we feel fortunate to have survived long enough to be here to help others “go green” during this very important time.
Join the conversation »
Ask Stephen a question of your own by October 15,
and check back at the end of October for answers to reader questions.