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“Be Green.” What Does It Mean?
By: Greg Ortmann, President, Feiereisen, Inc.

As we all know, the environment is a hot topic in the graphic arts industry. Great strides have been made in printing, but we in the bindery don’t want to be left behind. Let’s start with two important acronyms sweeping through commercial printing and related industries.

SFI and FSC: What’s the Difference?
The sustainable environmental stewardship movement focuses on the responsible use of our natural resources. For paper manufacturing purposes, this means proper forest management practices. There are two competing organizations that seek to improve the quality of sustainable forestry and each one tackles the task of responsible forestry a little differently.

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program, developed by the American Forest and Paper Association, is designed for use in the United States and Canada. SFI is intended to spur both public and private forest owners to meet high standards for the environmentally responsible use of their land, including an emphasis on reforestation.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), on the other hand, is aimed at promoting responsible use of forest products from raw material through finished product. As a global organization, the standards adhered to by FSC members vary, but participation requires that forests and forests products are managed in “exemplary” fashion.

FSC offers certification to any company that sells timber or forest products as part of its “Chain of Custody” program. Any companies that sell products from FSC-certified sources can use the FSC label and note that their products are FSC-certified.

The bottom line is that both organizations have the same goal: To create a comprehensive set of principles that seeks to meet the needs for forestry products in our economy while protecting and conserving the environment. If certification is important to you, be sure to ask your suppliers about the content origin of the paper you want to use.

A Few Words About Soy Inks
Vegetable-based inks like ones made from soy greatly reduce the output of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), when compared to petroleum-based inks. Vegetable-based inks are constantly improving in terms of consistency, color accuracy, drying time and cost. In addition to soy inks, which are the most popular, rapeseed and linseed oil-based inks may also be available.

How Can A Finisher Be Green?
Admittedly, it’s less obvious how a post press services company can look and act green. After all, we consume very few materials outside out what our customers supply to us for conversion. We have very little control over whether the jobs we finish and bind are printed on recycled stock and use soy ink. We consume some materials like glue, foil, UV coating material and film laminate, but a finishing company’s consumables as a percentage of revenue usually is a lot less than a printer’s.

Our green contribution is more in the realm of how business gets done. Potential areas for helping the environment include: motion detector lights, low flush toilets, reduced AC use, better facility insulation, encouraging employee car pools, banning Styrofoam from lunch rooms, recycling toner cartridges and computer supplies, FTP file transfer of die lines, hybrid company vehicles, electronic job tickets and reusing pallets, boxes and more.

I hesitate to say this for fear of sounding preachy, but we will make a difference if we all make a difference.

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Greg Ortmann is president of Feiereisen, Inc., a leading provider of post press and finishing services including diecutting, embossing, foil stamping, pocket folders, tab dividers, UV coating, film lamination, scoring and perforation and more. Founded in 1933, Feiereisen has locations in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa and Kansas City, Kansas.