DEEP: Pitney Bowes Practices Sustainability

 Pitney Bowes Practices Sustainability
A Pollution Prevention Case Study

Company Background
Waste Reduction and Recycling
Clean, Renewable Power
Employee Involvement and Education
Environmental Management Systems
Product Design and Supply Chain


Stamford-based Pitney Bowes has put in place a number of innovative programs, including a product take-back program called Asset Recovery, an Energy Management Team, a Design for Environmental Quality program, and an ISO14001-certified Environmental Management System at its Danbury facility. As a result of these programs Pitney Bowes has been reducing the amount of waste they generate; increasing recycling; conserving energy; purchasing clean, renewable electricity; and designing products to be more environmentally friendly. Many companies in Connecticut can take some of the same actions that Pitney Bowes has taken to reduce pollution and cut costs at their facilities.

Mission and Policy

Pitney Bowes management believes that protecting the environment is synonymous with doing good business, and has both an environmental mission statement and policy. Together, they encapsulate the message that environmental protection is consistent with the goals of the company and the importance of meeting the business needs of today while protecting, sustaining and enhancing the human and natural resources that will be needed in the future. An excerpt from the Pitney Bowes annual Environment, Health and Safety report illustrates the company’s environmental policy:

Our actions are driven by a commitment to the long-term sustainability of our business along with the acknowledgment that our continued growth is dependent on the availability of our natural resources and the ecosystems that sustain us.

Company Background

Pitney Bowes is a $4.6 billion provider of mail and document management solutions. The company’s 80-plus years of doing business has produced many innovations in the mailing industry and more than 3,500 active patents and applications in a variety of markets, including printing, shipping, encryption, and financial services. The company serves over 2 million businesses. Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, the company has approximately 33,000 employees worldwide.

Among the environmental recognitions the company can lay claim to are WasteWise Partner of the Year (2001 to 2004); five-time winner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection GreenCircle Award; EPA’s Green Lights program; and EPA and DOT’s Best Workplaces for CommutersSM.

Waste Reduction and Recycling

For the past seven years, Pitney Bowes has been recognized for its innovative waste reduction strategies by the WasteWise program, a voluntary solid waste reduction program run by the EPA. Pitney has won the top prize, WasteWise Partner of the Year, in the Large Company category for the past four years.

Twenty-eight facilities from across four of its divisions participate in the company’s WasteWise Initiative. Successful 2001 projects included food service polystyrene recycling at corporate office facilities with on-site cafeterias. Special equipment shreds the polystyrene foam lunch trays and then transforms the shreds into a gel. The gel is returned to the recycler who then manufactures it into other plastic products. In 2002, the company prevented more than 3,400 pounds of paper waste by asking employees to view their pay stubs on a secure website and complete requisitions electronically. Waste prevention was also incorporated into the manufacturing process, creating new parts from recycled plastic waste.

During 2003, more than 11.4 million pounds of various materials were recycled with approximate cost savings of $870,000. Compared to a national recycling rate of 27%, Pitney Bowes recycles at a staggering 75% rate from its facilities that participate in WasteWise. This figure includes over 4 million pounds of paper-based materials (cardboard, high-grade papers). Other materials that are recycled include just over 2 million pounds of wooden pallets, collected from Connecticut facilities and sent to a re-manufacturer for repair and return to the market. Assorted electronics, nearly 400,000 pounds of plastics, and various metals from the product return program are recovered for recycling. A nationwide toner cartridge-recycling program was launched at Pitney Bowes in 2003 that manages both laser and ink-jet cartridges from desktop printers.

An employee environmental education program reinforces the company’s environmental mission

at all levels. From bins to great marketing signs, Pitney Bowes makes recycling educational and fun—so much so that many employees started to recycle at home! The program’s success is due in part to the fact that recycling isn’t just encouraged in the obvious places like next to printers. Pitney placed recycling bins in facility conference rooms, pantries, as well as in copy centers.

Another innovative strategy that Pitney employs is a product take-back program, known as Asset Recovery. Currently, 85% of Pitney Bowes’ U.S. marketed products are returned through this product take-back program and are repaired, refurbished and remanufactured, resulting in significant cost and resource savings. Whenever feasible, parts are harvested for re-use; other parts are recycled regionally to minimize transportation.


Energy management at Pitney is based upon a three-phase program that includes conservation and load management, cost competitive energy procurement, and support for clean power. The main drivers for this approach have been the deregulation of energy markets, the company’s desire to reduce costs and conserve natural resources, and efforts to mitigate climate impacts associated with energy use. Best practices for energy management are shared across the corporation through the Energy Management Team. Formed in 1998, the team consists of members of Facilities Management, Real Estate, Corporate Safety & Environmental Affairs, and Procurement. By working together, successful projects and practices are leveraged over numerous facilities, thereby sharing knowledge and lowering costs.

Conservation and load management are a focus of the energy management program. Conservation projects include everything from retrofitting lights to upgrading motors, reconfiguring compressed air systems, optimizing boilers, upgrading office systems, co-generating both heat and electricity, and flexible facility management. Load management allows the company to manage power consumption for e.g., lighting and HVAC, so that during a spike in demand they can reduce energy consumption in real time for these items, saving both money and energy.

The corporation is embarking on a program to competitively procure electricity in deregulated markets on a national basis. Qualified vendors competitively bid to supply energy to Pitney Bowes’ facilities and operations. In this way, Pitney Bowes is best able to manage both the cost and risk associated with volatile energy markets.

Clean, Renewable Power

As a founding partner of the Green Power Market Development Group (a World Resources Institute initiative to build corporate markets for renewable energy) Pitney Bowes is committed to support the generation of environmentally friendly clean electricity, or "green power," by purchasing renewable energy certificates. These certificates, also called credits or tags, represent the environmental benefits created when power is generated from clean, renewable resources. For every unit of electricity generated, an equivalent amount of renewable certificates is produced and can be purchased. Pitney Bowes has purchased renewable energy tags equivalent to 10% of its annual U.S. and U.K. corporate office electricity consumption. This action will help further establish demand for renewable energy, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and landfill gas. Green power offers multiple benefits including reducing regional air pollution and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and furthering energy security.

Employee Involvement and Education

Another cornerstone of Pitney Bowes environmental program has been employee involvement and education. Energy conservation specialists educate workers about residential energy conservation programs and products, so they can make changes at home. Employees are also educated on how to reduce energy consumption at work, with suggestions ranging from turning off inactive office and manufacturing equipment, to dressing for comfort. Broadcast alerts are issued to employees during vulnerable power conditions. EPA and DOT recognize Pitney Bowes as a commuter-friendly employer in the annual list of the Best Workplaces for CommutersSM in metro New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Recognition is given to the regions’ employers that offer the very best in commuter benefits to employees, thereby cutting traffic and air pollution and improving health and quality of life for harried commuters. In addition, a telecommuting program that allows employees to work from home was instituted over 10 years ago.

Environmental Management Systems

Efforts to consistently improve the company’s impact on the environment and benefit business operations led Pitney Bowes to develop an environmental management system, or EMS. In 2003, the company’s Document Messaging Technologies (DMT) facility, located in Danbury received ISO 14001 certification for its EMS. The process began nearly two years earlier and involved a team of over a dozen employees who identified nearly 80 of the facility’s activities that could have an environmental impact – all of which were evaluated and scored. Impacts were then reviewed and ranked, and top priorities formed the basis of an improvement plan. The improvement plan defined objectives and targets to be addressed by the business. The EMS plan addressed these key objectives:

  • Reducing paper consumption
  • Reducing facility energy consumption
  • Reducing non-reusable incoming packaging
  • Utilizing environmentally-preferable paper procurement practices
  • Ensuring compliance with packaging rules and regulations
  • Expanding product stewardship opportunities with respect to the products end of life

Improving product stewardship opportunities with respect to product design and development

Product Design and Supply Chain

Pitney Bowes’ commitment to the environment includes minimizing the impacts from products through an aggressive program called Design for Environmental Quality (DFEQ). The program sets goals to use fewer and less toxic resources to produce a product, reduce packaging, increase reusability, recycling and disassembly, and reduce energy use in manufacture, transport and customer use. Pitney Bowes achieved significant reductions in the use of chrome and lead in product lines as a result of this program.

{Energy Star Logo} Pitney is a leader in developing product lines that meet the highest standards of energy efficiency. The company worked with EPA to create an Energy Star class for mailing machines and 75% of newly manufactured mailing machines are now Energy Star certified. Environmental product profiles for several mailing products can be accessed on the company’s website. This service has also resulted in several product design improvements such as reduced electricity consumption during product operation.

A Certificate of Compliance is used by Pitney Bowes in "greening" its supply chain, an effort that is almost 10 years old. All suppliers must demonstrate that their products, processes and packaging meet Pitney Bowes environmental standards. Pitney has even provided on-site technical assistance to their suppliers to help them reduce their environmental and energy impacts and costs.


Pitney Bowes has demonstrated leadership in preventing pollution and promoting sustainable business practices.

Pitney Bowes programs that other companies can emulate are:

  • WasteWise Initiative
  • Asset Recovery
  • Energy Management
  • Employee Education
  • ISO 14000 Environmental Management Systems
  • Design for the Environment
  • Supply Chain Certificate of Environmental Compliance

Emphasizing the environment as a core value in business operations has been key to Pitney Bowes’ success. This all adds up to a smaller environmental footprint (less impact on the environment) and a better bottom line!

For more information about the programs described in this case study see the company’s website:

For EPA’s Energy Star and WasteWise Programs

For DEP’s GreenCircle Award program

For EPA and DOT’s Best Workplaces for CommutersSM program

The product information in this case study is provided solely as a service to Connecticut businesses. This information may not include all available services and suppliers, and does not represent an endorsement by Pitney Bowes or DEP. Use of this information does not in any way lessen one's responsibilities for compliance with applicable state and federal laws.

Prepared by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. For more information, call the Office of Pollution Prevention at (860) 424-3297.

Content Last Update on December 12, 2006