Zero Waste to Landfill
Cox Automotive is working toward a much cleaner, less wasteful tomorrow
Back in 2007, Cox Automotive’s parent company, Cox Enterprises, launched a nationwide sustainability program called Cox Conserves. As part of this initiative, Cox set an ambitious goal of sending zero waste to the landfill by the year 2024.
“Waste management is so important,” says Stephanie Valdez Streaty, Senior Director of Corporate Responsibility at Cox Automotive. “It affects climate change, water, energy, and just about everything when it comes to environmental sustainability. So, it’s a high priority for us as a company.”
That focus translates to a commitment to more sustainable behaviors and practices – both big and small – at work but also at home. While we redesigned operational processes to reduce waste across our businesses, changes at the individual team member level make a big difference, too.
Our Cox Conserves team is at the helm of implementing these changes, providing opportunities to both help the company achieve our waste reduction goals and to serve our local communities. The team also hosts monthly educational events to teach team members new habits and revisit personal eco-commitments.
For example, one recent event shared info on how to recycle via three-stream sorting – a system to separate items that can be recycled from those that have to go in the trashcan, while a recently launched composting initiative at Manheim’s Atlanta office teaches team members about food waste, compostable takeout containers, cups, paper towels, and napkin, and how these items can be turned back into nutrient-rich soil to grow new plants.
There’s also the ongoing “Turn the Tide on Plastics” drive where, in conjunction with June’s World Oceans Month and Plastic Free July, Cox Conserves permanently removed all plastic utensils, straws, and stirrers from the break rooms in our Atlanta offices. The team handed out reusable utensil sets and metal straws to everyone in the building and donated the plastic removed to the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities (who are required to use single-use plastics for medical purposes).
And then there are our local “Green Teams” – groups of employee volunteers at our different office locations throughout the country – that host environmental documentary screenings, coordinate group outings to pick up ocean- and river-bound litter or organize other social opportunities for learning and action.
“We’ve tried to make our initiatives and events fun, high profile, and above all, really easy for participation,” explains Cox Conserves’ team member Laura Hernandez.
Cox Conserves has also created a partnership with Recycle Across America – a national campaign to standardize recycling labels and practices throughout the U.S. This far-reaching effort aims to have the same, easy-to-understand recycling signage and receptacles everywhere – from Cox Automotive offices to home to school to the airport.
“It’s exciting to know we’re so close to our first major sustainability milestone,” says Stephanie Valdez Streaty. “There’s still work to do, but we have made great progress.”