BY BRITTANIE SMITH
Each year on June 5, World Environment Day is observed and celebrated in over 100 countries. Since 1974, the United Nations has used this day to promote awareness about the protection of our environment worldwide.
The World Environment Day website perhaps says it best, “Above all, World Environment Day is the ‘people’s day’ for doing something to take care of the Earth. That something can be focused locally, nationally or globally; it can be a solo action or involve a crowd. Everyone is free to choose.”
There are many misconceptions about the printing industry with regard to paper manufacturing and environmental responsibility. In celebration of World Environment Day, we’d like to share some facts and educate our audience about our use of paper materials. Although we use large quantities of paper for commercial print production, we strive to be environmentally sustainable in all facets of our business operation.
- Paper production supports sustainable forest management (USDA Forest Service)
- In North America, paper is recycled more than any other commodity (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
- Since 1990, U.S. pulp and paper mill fossil fuels have been reduced by 25% (American Forest & Paper Association)
- Over the last six decades, the United States’ forest area has grown more than 3% and the net volume of trees on timberland has increased by 58% (USDA Forest Service)
- Over 65% of the total energy used by North American pulp and paper facilities comes from biomass, biogas and hydroelectricity, which are all renewable energy sources (Two Sides North America)
- Even as a finished product, wood stores carbon indefinitely. This helps reduce the effects of greenhouse gas emissions over a long period of time (American Forest & Paper Association)
FSC Certified Paper
Allen Press is one of several printers in Kansas that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The Pinchot Institute for Conservation describes a FSC certification as, “A market-based, non-regulatory forest conservation tool designed to recognize and promote environmentally-responsible forestry and sustainability of forest resources.”
A FSC-certified paper has a supply chain that is managed responsibly and complies with the highest social, economic and environmental standards. This process ensures that our customers receive products that contribute to the stability of our environment.
The certification process consists of an in-depth assessment of paper management planning and forestry practices by the FSC. Each year, the FSC audits our paper chain of custody and visits Allen Press to ensure we are in compliance with the established standards.
Vegetable Inks and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) Emissions
We also provide our customers options for environmentally conscious inks that produce fewer emissions compared to the traditional petroleum-based inks.
When petroleum-based inks are used, they release a high level of VOC’s. These emissions contribute to air pollution, the destruction of the Earth’s ozone and ultimately global warming. Petroleum is also a non-renewable resource that is depleted when used by ink products.
By using vegetable oil-based inks, our customers receive ink that is made from a renewable resource and produces less VOC’s. Vegetable oils break down easier than petroleum, leading to a more efficient recycling process.
Allen Press team members contribute every day to its mission of environmental sustainability. Every team member is given a container at their desk for recycling paper, and each department has both a plastic and aluminum recycling bin. By making it easy for our teams to recycle, we eliminate waste and reduce our carbon footprint.
Eliminating waste in the pressroom has a number of benefits. Most notably, controlling waste reduces our paper consumption and the disposal of unused paper materials. Team members in the pressroom receive incentives for reducing waste. Each shift, the press team can earn a bonus for reaching certain pre-defined waste and efficiency goals. These incentives have proven to be a successful strategy for more efficient printing and use of paper.
We are committed to not only providing a range of printing capabilities but also doing our part to remove our carbon footprint and move print production toward sustainability. Learn more about our print services here.