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(March 2010) posted on Mon Mar 15, 2010

Five shops report that ‘going green’ continues to have both challenges and rewards.

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By J.P. Pieratt

For Frank Nardi, vice president of operations for Print Art, sustainability is just part of the culture of the company, a digital and commercial-print operation that has been recycling its print byproducts for more than 10 years. Nardi, who began on the photographic side of the market, says that when he first started, among the first things he learned were the processes involved with recycling and waste disposal. “I remember how it was done in the past, where you’re shooting film and processing film and using chemicals for the process,” Nardi relates. “Those chemicals had to be drained a certain way, put into barrels, and then the barrels had to be distributed to specific places for disposal.

“We’ve taken steps since then by keeping track of the technology that’s out there. It’s been an ongoing process for us.” Sustainability, he stresses, “is not a destination, so much as it is a journey. It’s more of a step-by-step process that’s never done. To me, you fix [one operational area] and you say, ‘Okay, what new technology can help this other area?’ There are so many moving parts that you want to make sure you’re always looking at areas to improve.”

G. Todd Graham, president of Resource Grand, which is also 100-percent digital, says that he and his company are environmentally conscious, but that’s not the primary factor driving his company’s initiative: “It’s great that it’s helping the Earth, but it’s money-driven for us. We’re trying to use it as a competitive advantage.” And, like Print Art, Resource Grand’s sustainability goal isn’t static: “It’s a moving target, and I think it’s something that, as we continue to discover all of our processes and refine some of the things that we’ve done, is going to further define what sustainability is for us.”

Diverse recipes for success
As you might guess, when you have different reasons for implementing sustainability initiatives, the initiatives themselves are going to vary from company to company.
Point Imaging focuses on three primary areas of sustainability: ecological responsibility, social development and wellness, and financial strength. Ecological responsibility incorporates the traditional components of recycling, using alternative substrates and supply-conscious vendors, and energy conservation.