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2003 - Business Award - Environmental Improvement - STAPLES

In the ultra-competitive office supply business, it often takes more than low prices to earn the loyalty of customers. One of the big advantages Staple's has in Oklahoma is Joe Lada, a district manager whose useful ideas are matched only by his ability to make them grow.

His notion was to divert thousands of empty ink and toner cartridges from landfills by donating a dollar to Oklahoma education for each one collected and recycled at Staples. Only seven months in, the program was more than a quarter of the way toward its $100,000 goal and it had inspired Staples to take the Oklahoma program nationwide with a $5 million goal.

Our judges laud Staples for its great commitment to education and the environment. We agree that the Staples' Recycle for Education program supplies good news for students and landfills in Oklahoma.