Sustainability—the practice of recycling, reusing, and reducing—is not just for tree hugging, living off the woods, Ed Begley Jr. fans. In fact, it's on the fast track to becoming a necessary business strategy, as more and more Fortune 1000 companies inject sustainability into their...
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To get staff on board with the program, management formed an employees' committee—one of the earliest suggestions was to eliminate the use of Styrofoam cups—and padlocked the dumpster to discourage landfill waste. It worked—Monroe Litho recycles or reuses all its waste, except for food waste, completely eliminating the use of dumpsters and their associated costs. In 2010, the company recycled more than one million pounds of printing paper, reduced VOC emissions by 28 percent from the year before, and used more than 650 tons of American made FSC-certified printing paper.
For Monroe Litho, sustainable printing is more than just a program; it's how the company brands itself. When you type in Monroe Litho in the search field of your search engine, Monroe Litho Inc./Sustainable Commercial Litho comes up. This has definitely made a difference among its association and school client base. "A lot of our customers love that we are a sustainable printer," says Pape. "They will list us as their printer in their brochures, making sure to include all of our certifications."
Paths to Sustainability
Central Florida Press, a multi-faceted commercial printer in Orlando, FL, and a division of The MATLET Group, offers customers a carbon calculator, allowing the printer and customer to work together to reduce energy and paper use, ultimately reducing the customer's overall carbon footprint and paper use. CFP also works with Sappi Fine Paper North America and other paper mills to create custom papers that are FSC-certified, carbon neutral, and made with wind power.
"We have produced custom work for major corporations for over 15 years and purchase our paper from Sappi because we respect their approach to sustainability," says John Glick, senior vice president of Business Development, CFP. "The bottom line is when a customer of ours uses paper with the FSC, SFI, or PEFC certification, it is better than using paper with recycled content."
The reason, says Glick, is the enormous amount of energy and bleaching required to turn recycled paper into communication grade, high-end paper, as opposed to paper towels, for example. It's counterintuitive. Also, Sappi, as well as many of its competitors, uses wood from sustainable forests—giving the paper company the FSC certification.
"The US forest products industry is the largest producer of renewable biomass energy in the country," says Glick. "We know Sappi is a leader in the use of renewable energy, has the lowest reported CO2 emissions, and respect their overall approach."
Ideal Jacobs in Maplewood, NJ, with 25 employees, specializes in custom die-cut labels and graphic overlays. In business for 10 years, the company is serious about becoming a safe, well-managed, environmentally proactive organization. It has ISO 1401:2004 environmental management and ISO 9001:2008 quality management standards designation. In 2002, looking to create a safer and more efficient facility, it began working with the New Jersey On-Site Consultation Program, eventually becoming a member of the OSHA Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) program, which recognizes small employers that operate exceptional safety and health management programs. Not only has Ideal Jacobs become an ambassador for the program, its business has exploded. (View the US Department of Labor OSHA Small Business Success Story here.)
Look Outside the Envelope
One of the key elements of any sustainability program is to "think outside the envelope," Carli explains. "Printers often focus on paper, plates, and printing equipment, but ignore opportunities that exist within their buildings."
There are government grants, tax incentives, and even financing programs that can defray capital costs to ensure your building is not wasting energy. "A building that is retrofitted may be eligible for energy efficiency grants from the government that could underwrite at least some of the capital improvement costs," says Carli. "Plus, they would receive the energy benefits every day."
While the process of becoming a sustainable printer can be daunting, especially if you've really not done a whole lot, there are plenty of places to turn to for help. Industry associations, such as the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), are a good place to start. The SGP, which was initiated by the Printing Industries Association (PIA), Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA), Flexographic Technical Association (FTA), and National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM), provides sustainability certification in the graphic communications industry.