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Sustainable Best Practices: A New Approach to Printing

(August 2009) posted on Fri Aug 07, 2009

The popularity of sustainable printing is gaining momentum in the screen-printing industry. This discussion describes some of the ways you can actually make your operation more sustainable and highlights the cost savings associated with eco-friendly business decisions.


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You should review energy-consumption data and the availability of auto shut-off features in any new equipment you’re evaluating for your business. This includes computers, computer monitors, microwave ovens, refrigerators, and more. Purchasing Energy Star-rated equipment is a good investment. Not only are you purchasing equipment to replace existing equipment or to improve operations, but you’re also helping to reduce your energy consumption and energy costs. Speaking of which, have you heard of energy-efficient vending machines? They came to the marketplace in the past few years. One example of such a machine maintains canned soft drinks at a desired temperature, but it eliminates all other electrical use, such as display lighting, unless there is foot traffic in the immediate area of the unit.

Janitorial supplies are often overlooked as candidates for improved sustainability. Consider the adoption of third-party-certified supplies. Products recognized by Green Seal and EcoLogo are common in the marketplace. These organizations maintain Websites (www.greenseal.org and www.ecologo.org) that offer information about their standards and certifications and allow visitors to find certified professional- and consumer-grade products.



Last, but not least, are the social aspects of sustainability. They’re key to your establishment of best practices. Social aspects include compliance with all relevant local, state/provincial, and federal employment laws. The following will ensure your commitment to addressing the social aspects of sustainability:

• Provide an equal employment opportunity workplace.
• Make sure policies are in compliance with federal, state/provincial, and local child-labor laws, as well as wage/hour and immigration laws.
• Comply with federal, state/provincial, and local minimum-wage and overtime laws.
• If the use of multiple languages is acceptable in your facility, all plant rules, safety resources, and training materials must be written to accommodate each language spoken in the facility.


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