Simple Sustainable Steps for the Printing Industry

SustainabilitySustainability. It’s a word not often directly associated with printing, but I beg to differ. With SGIA’s Sustainable Business Recognition Award program, we continue to see members taking steps to reduce their environmental impact and increase their sustainable footprints.

This year, we’ve recognized 30 facilities for their sustainability programs, focused on all three pillars: people, profit and planet. I’m sharing a few highlights to not only inspire you to take your first steps, but to show that a sustainable journey does not have to be difficult. In fact, it can start with the simple act of changing your lightbulbs.

2019 recipient Beacon Promotions Inc.’s installation of LED lights last year has equated to a drop of $5,500 in electrical cost and a decrease of 605,000 watts. As they saw their electrical costs continue to increase, Beacon’s engineering staff sprung to action. Their goal was to decrease their individual use and overall demand on the energy grid with a net result of reducing fossil fuel consumption. The money saved through this project is being reinvested back into additional energy-reducing projects.

Evolution Automotive LLC also focused on switching to LED and incorporated smart automation. This allowed them to reduce operating costs and energy usage. In 2017, their monthly electric usage was nearly 750 kilowatt-hour (kWh). After implementing their project, they have cut their consumption down to 520 kWh per month, a daily energy savings of nearly 50%.

Sustainable EnergyHave you taken a look at your energy usage and thought about how to decrease it? Energy-reducing projects don’t have to be elaborate or costly — rather, they can save you a lot of money! In another success story, as the company Modernistic saw a 10% increase in sales, they saw the same percentage decrease in their overall electricity, after requiring all employees to turn off their lights during non-work hours. So simple, yet so impactful, and it engaged the entire facility!

And then we see facilities such as Blanc Display Group, who have taken energy reductions even further. Blanc believes it is their responsibility and duty to engage in sustainable practices. After significant research, Blanc embarked on an endeavor to switch to solar energy in 2017. Last year, the company covered all available areas of their roof with 1,110 solar panels, providing approximately 70% of their entire energy demand. Since implementing the solar energy system, they have produced 353 megawatt-hour of energy to run their 50,000-square-foot manufacturing plant. In addition, excess energy is provided back to the local energy grid during the key summer months, reducing the amount of fossil fuels burned. Their environmental savings include 546,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions — the equivalent to planting 13,767 trees — and a reduction in their electrical energy costs by over $44,000 in the first year alone.

SGIA Sustainable Business - Aurora TextilesFrom these few examples alone, we can deduce that sustainable business decisions not only reduce companies’ environmental footprint, but most importantly, the facilities achieved verifiable operating cost reductions.

As we celebrate Earth Day, I encourage you to take a moment to consider what you can do to make a sustainable journey commitment this year. Be sure to sign up for updates about next year's Sustainable Business Recognition program for a chance to be featured as a 2020 winner.

Want to see more 2019 sustainable success stories? Keep an eye on our social media channels and check out the SGIA Journal's March/April Graphic and upcoming Spring Garment issues.

Image courtesy of Aurora Specialty Textiles Group, Inc.

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