Sustainability: Reliable Graphics Goes Reliably Green

For more than 30 years Reliable Graphics has been a leader in the reprographics, imaging, and document management industry. An American Reprographics Company (ARC) reprographer, Reliable Graphics is one of the largest reprographics firms in California with more than 175 employees, 10 locations, and a large radio dispatched delivery fleet. Reliable Graphics is committed to serving the ever-changing needs of its clients with technology that enhances the printing experience and transforms documents into effective communications tools. Its services include wide-format color, digital bond sets, electronic publishing, facility management, equipment and supplies sales, graphic design, digital plotting, scanning, and document storing. Many of the technologies used to provide these services are from Océ.

In its quest to give its customers the best solution for each and every project, Reliable Graphics has exceeded the traditional boundaries of today's typical reprographic business. One of the biggest ways it has distinguished itself in the reprographic industry and with its clients is in "going green." In fact, Reliable Graphics was the recipient of Océ's first-ever Green Reprographer of the Year award. Reliable Graphics, which was recognized for this honor at the IRgA 2008 Annual Convention and Trade Show, was selected as the winner for its achievements in environmentally responsible business practices and for assisting its customers to meet their own sustainability goals.

Reliable Graphics has been very proactive when it comes to its policies regarding sustainability. For this shop, being environmentally responsible is more than simply a good idea or an afterthought. The reprographer has put "green" into practice across all aspects of its business—from the products and services it provides to its customers, to the energy-saving and environmentally-friendly measures it has taken within its facilities, to the environmental incentives it offers its employees.

A Green Seed Takes Root

Reliable Graphics' commitment to sustainability was instituted by its parent, ARC, and was avidly championed by Angela Giraldo, director of Green Services and Marketing for Reliable Graphics.

"Our green program started off with just getting our clients to use recycled paper. From there, we took it even further, asking ourselves 'what else can we do to be green?' We explored how Reliable Graphics could promote sustainability in the products we use in our business operations, the services we provide to our customers and the programs we create for our internal employees," said Giraldo.

As a mother of young adults, Giraldo made it a personal mission to research ways that Reliable Graphics could expand its commitment to environmental responsibility. "As my children go through life, I want this world to be just as beautiful years from now as it is today. I care about the environment, and want us to do everything possible to protect it—not only in our homes, but in the workplace," she said.

Certification—a First Step to Sustainability

Research conducted by Giraldo and her internal team led Reliable Graphics to achieve certification as a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) reprographer, an active membership in the US Green Building Council and prominent utilization of the ARC GreenPlan environmental business initiatives. Reliable Graphics is the only reprographer to hold FSC and SFI certifications. While the process took several months, Giraldo believes it was well worth the effort.

"We're able to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability to our customers, because we now carry and print on paper that is FSC and SFI certified. The FSC logo is printed on the first page of every print job. We always give our clients the option to print on recycled paper, and overwhelmingly most every customer says 'yes.' Everybody cares—even the contractors—as we're all in this together for the benefit of the environment," said Giraldo.

Recycled Paper, Real Results

Reliable Graphics has already achieved measurable results by switching to recycled paper for use on its wide- format black and white systems (Océ 45-111R recycled paper) and small-format systems. The process has saved 1,509 trees, 354,976 KWH of energy and 621,208 gallons of water from June 2007 to February 2008.

The company uses recycled paper across its entire Facility Management (FM) program. Many FM locations also use Océ TDS320 or Océ TDS450 print/copy/scan systems, low volume solutions that provide energy efficiencies thanks to Océ Radiant Fusing technology. This unique technology requires no warm-up time for no-wait, instant printing and immediately returns to a sleep mode after printing creating extremely low energy consumption.

Empowering Customers to Be Paperless

In an effort to further minimize its impact on the environment, Reliable Graphics has re-thought virtually every component of its business—and how it can help its customer adopt their own green operations practices.

Reliable Graphics understands that its architect, engineering and construction (AEC) clients face mounting pressure to be more sustainable. Increasingly, many are excluded from bidding on jobs unless they can demonstrate they've incorporated sustainability practices into their businesses. Adopting environmentally sound processes can mean the difference between a job won or lost.

"Every time we convert a customer to a greener method such as printing on recycled paper, they go on our 'Green Stars List' and are able to prove they've taken a vital step toward being sustainable," said Giraldo.

Aside from switching to recycled paper, Reliable Graphics also encourages its customers to embrace sustainable products by offering recycled cardboard binders, CD sleeves, edge binds, tabs and Eco Board for sale in its shops. The company has also made efforts to minimize unnecessary printing through the adoption of advanced software solutions. By utilizing digital document management software solutions—from Océ and a variety of digital applications developed by ARC—the reprographer enables its customers to order plans and send bid invitations online. Reliable Graphics also promotes digital file archiving and file transfer via an FTP site, Océ Repro Desk software and electronic work orders, with which customers can request order pick-ups and place orders while remaining paperless.

"We want to be green, and we want to be better," said Giraldo. "We've been a bit of a change agent for our peers, our vendors and customers. At the same time, being the most environmentally responsible reprographer in the industry who is setting new standards has given us a marketing edge."

Green from the Inside Out

Being green from the inside out is critical to "walking the talk"—and providing evidence behind the reprographer's dedication to sustainability. Internally, Reliable Graphics has implemented several facility changes to reduce the company's impact on the environment—from transitioning to a fleet of hybrid vehicles to selecting cleaning products that are eco-friendly. In February of 2008, Reliable Graphics switched to compact florescent light bulbs throughout its shops and equipped all light switches with occupancy sensors.

Employees of Reliable Graphics are encouraged to support the company's sustainability goals. Each office location is fitted with a webcam so meetings with employees in different locations can be conducted virtually, thus putting fewer cars on the road. When they do travel to the office, employees are encouraged to take part in a ride share program with incentives to benefit those offices that take part most often. And, as an added incentive—for those employees who purchase a hybrid vehicle—Reliable Graphics reimburses them $100 a month.

Additionally, Reliable Graphics educates its employees and clients on environmental topics of interest on a monthly basis, with timely topics displayed and mounted in the offices' lobby on Eco Board.

Other innovative sustainability programs are underway at Reliable Graphics. These include:

  • A 20 yard, on-site recycle bin where plastic and every type of paper product from customer scraps to cardboard cores are placed.
  • A "Plans to Pads" program to create note pads from clients' old plans and from the strips of paper created when loading new paper rolls in its Océ printers.
  • For every three "Digital is Green" tote bags purchased, which the company sells in their shops, Reliable Graphics plants a tree in one of the United States' national forests.

"Green reprographics is a wave of the future, and Océ continues to play a big part on our sustainability and green initiatives," said Giraldo. "Reliable Graphics alone might not save the world, but if a hundred reprographics shops go green, the impact could be enormous."

Angela Giraldo is the director of Green Services and Marketing for Reliable Graphics. For more information about Reliable Graphics, visit:

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