Keeping It Green Together

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The printing industry has made many strides to reduce the negative impact we have on the environment. A “paperless” society may be a noble mission, but it’s neither practical nor doable. Paper products are here to stay. So what can we be doing together – as print communications partners – to design and produce the most earth-friendly print products?

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  • The printing industry has made many strides to reduce the negative impact we have on the environment. A “paperless” society may be a noble mission, but it’s neither practical nor doable. Paper products are here to stay. So what can we be doing together – as print communications partners – to design and produce the most earth-friendly print products? Today, we are going to look at three areas of change each of us can make in our practices and procedures – regardless of the business we are in – that will have a positive impact on the environment. We will wrap up our time together with five ways we can partner together to make more ecologically-sound decisions for print communications projects. And of course, we’ll save some time for questions. So, let’s get started…. Much of today’s discarded material – especially paper – comes from businesses. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, commercial sources like office buildings, schools and institutions make up about 35 to 45 percent of all municipal solid waste. And, about 93 percent of all office waste by weight is paper. Most of this could be recycled.
  • When looking for simple ways that we can make our workplaces “greener,” the first step is in recycling . How do you get a recycling program rolling? Begin by gathering the facts. Take a look around your workplace and start to identify all of the materials that are potentially recyclable. Then, target the highest volume of materials that would be the easiest to separate. If you are in a large office building, the owners or management company should contact the recycling provider for standards and requirements for separating materials, what are considered acceptable items and so forth. Smaller organizations may want to look into drop-off recycling centers. Know that any program will need support at the top. If you think it might be something that you have to “sell” to management, focus on cost savings, the impact on productivity, all of the environmental benefits and positive public relations from which your organization can benefit .
  • Next, design a program. It should involve all employees with procedures that make it easy for them to participate. (That means it has to be easy enough to become second nature.) Be sure to keep the custodial staff informed as well. You certainly don’t want all of the efforts you make during the day, tossed into the trash cans at night. Plan a kick-off event. When you’re ready to begin, plan an event to get everyone on board with the new initiative. It can be a simple lunch that’s both fun and informative. The easy part is you already have a built-in theme. Create incentives for employees. Having an active role in a recycling program that grows, reaches goals and creates benefits will motivate employees to participate.
  • Remember to keep track of what you are doing so that you can measure and report your results. Every person in your organization has the ability to contribute to your eco-friendly programs. And on the flip side, everyone contributes to the waste stream. Your goal is to turn this statistic we are looking at right here on its ear. By tracking some of the changes in your organization, you can demonstrate a “before and after” snapshot. It will be nice for your employees to know that they really are making a difference, and it will help you to keep your recycling program going and growing.
  • Here’s a special tip when dealing with paper product waste: keep it clean. When you are separating paper products for recycling, make sure they are free of other contaminants that will prevent them from being recycled. Some of them are listed here. Be sure to remove things like plastic wrap and staples before tossing items into the recycle bin.
  • Step two is to reduce waste . You may be asking yourself: Isn’t this the same as recycling? If I’m recycling products doesn’t that mean I am reducing waste? Yes, it does indeed. But some things cannot be recycled as mentioned. It is in these areas that we need to reduce the amount of waste we create. This includes everything we put into the environment that in most cases, ends up in a landfill. It also includes the toxins that we put into the air, water and ground on a daily basis. Where can you make some changes to reduce pollution?
  • In purchasing supplies for your company, consider recycled and reusable supplies when possible. This will not only help the environment, but can save your company money in the long run. A ceramic coffee mug as opposed to a plastic or Styrofoam cup is a basic but great illustration of where easy but important changes can be made. Also take a look the cleaning supplies you are using and their chemical content. Most can be replaced with “greener” solutions that are readily available and are non-toxic ad biodegradable. One of the areas we can have the greatest positive impact on the environment in terms of waste reduction is with vehicle emissions. Look for local suppliers to minimize the environmental impact of long distance shipping. And be aware of how your company and personal vehicles are being used. Can you consolidate trips? Walk rather than drive?
  • Some very basic things you can do to help minimize the amount of waste paper you generate is to use your computer more efficiently. Use your computer for proofing documents, for instance, instead of using a hard copy that ends up in the trash. Of the 70 percent of office waste that is paper, nearly one-third is computer printouts. Instead of producing hard copies that most likely will end up in the trash, rely more on your technology for information storage.
  • Let’s move on to the third area for change: energy efficiencies. There’s an easy and obvious way to “jump start” this program with a simple direction – shut it off and set it back. What does that mean? Simply turn all switches to “off” when not in use and set temperatures back. Those two steps alone will have a positive and measurable impact on your energy usage. More substantial and tangible energy-efficiencies in your building may include upgrading windows, lighting and insulation. When major renovations or repairs are needed, look more closely at your structure’s foundation and the roof for opportunities to improve energy efficiency. Now , let’s look at a few of these areas a little more closely, starting with lighting.
  • If you switch to compact fluorescent from regular incandescent bulbs, you’ll use 60 percent less energy per bulb and save 300 pounds of C0 2 a year. You’ll pay a premium up front, but it will be worth it in the long run. However, they will need to be disposed of properly. Most communities set aside days for the collection of hazardous materials like oil-based paints, for example. Fluorescent light tubes need to be disposed of carefully due to mercury and trace amounts of lead and other metals. Even small quantities of these metals may be potentially harmful. Turn off lights in unoccupied areas. Pay special attention to rooms that are used infrequently, like conference rooms, basements, restrooms, walk-in coolers and storage areas. And use timers or energy management systems to turn off lights automatically when spaces are vacated.
  • Let’s look at opportunities in heating and cooling. As I mentioned earlier, set thermostats higher in the cooling season and lower in the heating season. Also, “set back” thermostats during unoccupied periods like nights and weekends to achieve even more savings. Install programmable thermostats that can make setback scheduling automatic and provide adequate warm up time before you arrive. Check that your duct work does not leak or have open circuits especially in locations out of sight such as above the suspended ceilings. Outside air can cause cold spots and increase your building heating load. Preventative measures include sealing cracks, penetrations, open joints and pipe penetrations in outside walls. Infiltration can also be reduced by installing weather stripping, caulking or seals on leaky doors and windows and replacing broken windows. Keep doors and windows closed whenever you’re heating or air conditioning systems are on.
  • What are some other areas for increasing your energy efficiencies? Turn off office equipment when it is not in use. This includes things like printers, copiers, coffee machines, electric heaters, fans and lighting as mentioned. Enable the power-down feature on all your business computers. The majority of computers have various power-down features, which usually require activation. I know we all like the look of screen savers, but try to minimize their use for more energy-efficient power-down options on most monitors. Some of us use electric space heaters for cold spots. Push-button timers or motion sensors can be added that automatically shut the heaters off which will help reduce the operating costs during unoccupied periods. If you want help with your energy management program in your office or office building, contact your utility company. They can provide you with free, helpful information and technical assistance. I have given you three areas to consider – recycling, reducing waste and instituting energy efficiencies – when it comes to your own office environment that can be implemented at a “jump start” level, meaning right away.
  • Let’s move on to how we can work together when putting together print projects – areas where we can make a difference with environmentally-sound practices. I’m going to give you five ways we can take care of our Earth together – and still do the jobs we need to do. As you might expect, as with any print job, you’ll spend less time and money making decisions upfront rather than in last-minute adjustments at the end of the process. We cannot stress enough: Let’s be sure to have early and frequent consultations. So number one is pre-plan. The earlier we are brought into the planning stages, the better. We can help you to find the best solutions within your budget using the types of papers, inks and coatings that can give you the quality and look you want while being kind to the environment. Number two is to reduce the number of printed pieces you produce . It has obvious cost and waste reduction savings associated with it. With short-run digital technologies, you can produce smaller quantities without paying a premium and eliminate document obsolescence and the accompanying waste.
  • Three is paper. Your best opportunities to conserve will be with paper. We all know that using paper with recycled content saves trees. But it also diverts waste from landfills. According to the American Forest & Paper Association, a record 53.4 percent of the paper consumed in the United States (53.5 million tons) was recovered for recycling in 2006. That’s great news. How is recycled paper defined? How much recycled content should it have? Well, post-consumer recycled papers contain fibers from papers that have been reclaimed from the waste stream after they’ve been used for the intended purposes. Pre-consumer recycled papers are papers made from fibers that are recovered and recaptured before reaching the consumer. Scraps from pulp and paper mills and trim wastes are examples. Choose paper with high levels of recycled content. Also, choose paper that is “bright enough” and doesn’t use chlorine or other chemicals to add brightness. And, consider printing on both sides or using half sheets when appropriate.
  • There are two myths about recycled paper that I would like to dispel right now. They are that recycled paper costs more and is an inferior product to “virgin” paper. Years ago, some recycled papers did have visible fibers and wasn’t the right choice for some projects. Today, it is hard to tell the difference in a side by side comparison. (NOTE: TAKE SAMPLES WITH YOU TO PASS AMONG THE AUDIENCE TO SEE IF ANYONE CAN IDENTIFY RECYCLED PAPERS.)
  • A second option for paper is that produced from a scientifically managed forest. These are farms specifically managed to grow, harvest and re-plant trees. The paper quality and price will not be sacrificed by using paper that is from a properly managed forest area. And, it’s easy to see how much waste can be reduced. Using renewable resources limits the impact on our precious natural resources and is an alternative to using recycled products that still makes a lot of sense.
  • Number four on our list is in ink choices. There are three general areas to look out for in terms of the environmental impact of printing inks : volatile organic compounds (VOCs), non-renewable resources and heavy metals. VOCs are compounds that contribute to air and water pollution when they escape by evaporation. They are mostly derived from petroleum products and are used in solvents. Vegetable based inks still contain some amount of petroleum oil to facilitate drying. But they may reduce the levels of VOC and other pollutants emitted in the printing process. We can also take a look at using less ink coverage. We’ll use fewer resources and create less waste. The coatings we use for glossy and dull finishes, and the whiteness and brightness of a paper that has a lot to do with the bleaching process can all be examined more closely to choose eco-friendly solutions. Some do emit harmful byproducts that we can avoid and still give the look you want for your printed pieces.
  • And finally, number five, we want to finish your print projects correctly with the right bindings and labels. We have many choices in binding a printed piece. For example, some glues emit VOCs. Water-based, non-chlorinated glues are a good example of an Earth-friendly product that can also be recycled.
  • At this stage, there are also opportunities to limit waste by taking a closer look at your mailing list. If you are marketing to generate new business, choose your targets wisely. Be selective with specific audiences instead of sending out “shotgun” mailings that are ineffective for you and create costly waste. Keep mailing lists updated and delete duplicates. It will save you money on mailing and helps to reduce the amount of waste generated in the printing process all along the way. Track and measure your response rates to trim lists even more.
  • If each of us can commit to implementing even a few of these steps, we will have a measurably positive impact. And we can be the catalyst for others. Let your customers know what you are doing. As more shoppers look for “green,” this will be an added selling point for your company. And more importantly, it has the potential to help the environmental movement move forward. We are, after all, in this together. I’d like to open it up to questions now…
  • Keeping It Green Together

    1. 1. “Let every individual and institution nowthink and act as a responsible trustee ofEarth, seeking choices in ecology,economics and ethics that will provide asustainable future, eliminate pollution,poverty and violence, awaken the wonderof life and foster peaceful progress in thehuman adventure.” — John McConnell, founder of International Earth Day
    2. 2. Keeping It Green Together 3 Steps to “Green”1.Recycle
    3. 3. Typical Office Recyclables• Office papers• Newspapers and magazines• Shipping boxes• Packaging materials (“peanuts” &bubble wrap)• Glass/plastic/aluminum containers• Printer cartridges
    4. 4. Keeping It Green TogetherA typical business generates about 1.7pounds of material per employee perday, much of it recyclable, high-gradepaper. American Forest & Paper Association
    5. 5. Keep It Clean• Food (cups, plates and wrappers)• Tapes and adhesive labels• Medical waste• Photographs and foil• Deeply dyed papers• Rubber bands, metal fasteners & staples• Glass, aluminum and plastic wrap
    6. 6. Keeping It Green Together 3 Steps to “Green”1. Recycle2. Reduce waste
    7. 7. Around the Office• Use ceramic instead of paper coffee cups.• Use rechargeable batteries.• Buy remanufactured fax, ink jet and tonercartridges and return them for recycling.• Buy in bulk and only what you need.• Reuse boxes and packing materials.
    8. 8. Technical Solutions• Use email and voicemail to communicatewith colleagues.• Proofread documents on your computerbefore printing.• Save documents electronically.
    9. 9. Keeping It Green Together 3 Steps to “Green”1. Recycle2. Reduce waste3. Be energy efficient
    10. 10. Lighting• Use fluorescent bulbs; disposeof properly.• Turn off lights in unoccupiedspaces.• Use timers.
    11. 11. Heating and Cooling• “Set back” thermostat.• Check duct work.• Seal cracks and joints.• Add weather stripping, caulk.• Keep doors and windows closed.
    12. 12. Keeping It Green TogetherEnergy efficiency: Using your buildingsindividual components to do the samejob as less efficient components forless money over the long-term.
    13. 13. Keeping It Green Together1.Pre-plan with “green” in mind.2.Reduce number of printed pieces.3.Use paper wisely.4.Choose “smart” inks.5.Watch binding, finishing.
    14. 14. Keeping it Green Together1.Pre-plan with “green” in mind.2.Reduce number of printed pieces.3.Use paper wisely.4.Choose “smart” inks.5.Watch binding, finishing.
    15. 15. Keeping It Green TogetherTwo Myths About Recycled Paper• Eco-friendly paper means lowerquality.• Printing “green” is moreexpensive.
    16. 16. Keeping It Green Together• Recovered paper supplies more than37% of the raw material used to makenew paper products.• Every ton of paper recycled saves 3.3cubic yards of landfill space. American Forest & Paper Association
    17. 17. Keeping It Green Together1.Pre-plan with “green” in mind.2.Reduce number of printed pieces.3.Use paper wisely.4.Choose “smart” inks.5.Watch binding, finishing.
    18. 18. Keeping it Green Together1.Pre-plan with “green” in mind.2.Reduce number of printed pieces.3.Use paper wisely.4.Choose “smart” inks.5.Watch binding, finishing.
    19. 19. Keeping It Green Together Keep an eye on your mailing list.• Target• Track• Measure
    20. 20. Keeping It Green Together Questions & Answers Thank you!

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