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Green is Good

(March 2011) posted on Tue Mar 08, 2011

Print providers turn to sustainable production because it's "the right thing to do" for the enviornment and for their business.

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By Jake Widman

The company’s owners had a long history of conservation before purchasing the business, says Ruggieri. "They owned a ranch in Kenya, and they've always had a concern for the environment. And that's been our approach from the beginning. That means making sure that we're recycling everything, that we're not producing extra waste. And that if we have a job that gets messed up, we don't throw it away but save it and use it for make-ready or to create profiles. We have a big 50-gallon drum from the offset side for recycling our ink – a company takes it and turns it into black ink used in newspaper printing.

"We also try to push the more environmentally sound substrates," he continues. "If the customer specs a non-environmentally friendly substrate, we will, of course, print on it, but we try to push other substrates. We'll frequently value-engineer a product to help reduce waste and its impact on the environment."

In order to keep the business focused on the goal of sustainability, SunDance employees attend regular meetings to make sure they're on board with the mission and know they're empowered to enforce it. "We do a lot of training to ensure the employees are educated," says Ruggieri. "If they see something wrong, they’re empowered and required to fix it."

In addition to being the first Sustainable Green Commercial Printer certified company by the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) in the state of Florida, SunDance reports, it also has obtained certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC); the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).

SunDance promotes its sustainable approach, but its effectiveness as a marketing tool is unclear. "It's in our marketing material, but it doesn't necessarily seem like people are seeking us out because we're an SGP-certified printer, for instance," Ruggieri explains. "It's something the customer cares about, but unfortunately normally aren't willing to pay a premium for it. Everybody's pleased to hear about it, but if somebody wants something done in a more environmentally friendly manner, they'll pass up that opportunity if it costs more."

Modernistic, Inc.: Educating for sustainability
Founded in 1938, Modernistic ( was originally a die-cutting company. It eventually morphed into a screenprinting company, and 10 years ago the Stillwater, Minnesota-based company began getting into digital printing.