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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

But when Krinsky saw her first digital printer, there was no looking back. "One day in 1990," she says, "an Iris printer salesman darkened my door. He said, 'You don't have to mix all those inks. We have a way you can do it through your computer.' I went to New Bedford, Massachusetts, to see and I was hooked."

Stella has grown a lot since then. The shop now has an HP Designjet L65500 latex printer, two HP Designjet 5000s, and a 6100; an EFI Vutek QS3220 126-inch printer; a Leggett & Platt (now Polytype America) 98-inch flatbed printer; three Mimaki dye-sublimation printers as well as a Mimaki JV-3 62-inch 4-color solvent printer; and a Xerox Docucolor.

Krinsky was interested in sustainable printing from the beginning, but she also cites the business benefits of seeking SGP certification. "I've been on the path for a while, and getting certified looked like a really good thing to do," she says. "It's hard, but it makes you get more organized in your business. You have to keep track of things. We keep logs on our equipment, so I'm no longer guessing when we last cleaned the heads or changed the filters – it's all written down. And because all the equipment is monitored and maintained, it's going to last longer and print well. And if you're printing better, you don't have as many redos. It's the whole gestalt."

Nevertheless, sometimes the best intentions have led Krinsky to go too far in an effort to be environmentally sound. "I had an electrician come in and put in automatic light switches in the lunchroom and the men's and ladies' rooms, because nobody was turning off the lights. And then the city of Seattle had a program to promote energy-efficient lighting, so I ponied up and got all the new lights. They were supposed to last longer, but they kept going out in the lunchroom and in the two bathrooms. Finally, I did some research and found out that those kinds of energy-efficient bulbs shouldn't be on a timer, because the constant on and off makes them wear out. So I had the electrician come back and put the regular light switches back in – in the long run, it's greener to leave the lights on."