Spinning Green into Gold
Kermit the Frog said it best. “It’s not easy being green.” Printers probably commiserate with everyone’s favorite amphibian when the topic turns to adopting green business practices. However, some experts don’t believe it has to be a difficult task. In other words, printers don’t have to kiss a frog in the process.
For instance, a company can build a green brand by simply doing some self-evaluation and planning, commented Gary A. Jones, director of Environmental Health and Safety Affairs for Sewickley, Pennsylvania-based Printing Industries of America (PIA). Once a plan is developed and executed, printers will start to see how getting green can turn into gold. Expanding your recycling program to include such items as office paper, plastics, cans and bottles, or reducing waste and keeping tabs on energy consumption can slash operating costs, boost reputation and swell customer bases.
Jones, who recently spoke at San Diego Print Week 2009, recommended printers take an inventory of what they do, especially noting what they throw away. From there, they should craft a plan that is “systematic and systemic.”
“In an organized fashion you need to identify areas for improvement and then develop and execute a plan,” Jones said. “And empower the workforce. You need a culture change within the organization.”
But even before flushing out a plan, Jones recommended brushing up on what sustainability is and what it’s about. People, he said, really need to understand the definition of sustainability. Jones explained it as “... an economic state where the demands placed upon the environment by people and commerce can be met without reducing the capacity of the environment to provide for future generations.”
And printers’ goals should be to make and distribute products that do not diminish natural resources and aren’t harmful to people and ecosystems. Sustainability also should include waste prevention and reduction, resource reduction, pollution and toxin reduction, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity maintenance.