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Sustainability: The Ultimate ROI?

(September 2017) posted on Wed Aug 30, 2017

How renewable business practices can make your shop more profitable.

click an image below to view slideshow

By Joe Holt

Image Options is able to do many of these things because they make the time to “document solvents, document material use, document everything,” according to Hite, such as cataloging metal waste in order to gauge recycling efforts and ensure the company sees a significant return.

They even test for metals and bio-components in the shop’s waste stream. “We’ve been doing this from Day One, even before our SGP certification,” says Hite. And although getting SGP-certified initially takes time and effort, sometimes up to nine months, it’s an extremely rewarding process. “And I should know,” he continues. “We’ve moved twice, so we’ve had to go through certification three times. But you look at what we’re doing and it’s completely worth it.”

An Image Options team member images sustainable, recycled fabric on the shop’s new EFI FabriVu 340 dye sub printer.

The company’s CEO, Tim Bennett, was a member of the original SGP planning board back in 2008 and helped define what it means to be sustainable in this business. Thus the idea that drives the SGP – “Responsibility by all means profitability for all” – is at the heart of Image Options’ practices and policies.

“Our goal is maximum audience impact, minimum eco-impact,” says Hite. “And through our continued efforts, we’re achieving it.”

Eliminate Waste, Save Money
With two retail storefronts, a commercial facility, and a production facility, QSL Print Communications in Springfield, Oregon, has a lot of ground to cover in trying to reduce, reuse, and recycle, but somehow this family-owned, fourth-generation business has been providing – and profiting from – sustainable print services for decades.

That’s because QSL is aiming for zero waste. As in, none at all. The company started down this path by recycling everything: “One hundred percent of our aluminum press plates. One hundred percent of our solution containers. And 100 percent of our pallets, including the straps, wood, and cardboard,” says QSL VP Melissa Koke. “Even shrink wrap.” And because the company’s paper needs are sourced on a per-job basis, there’s no storage, and no waste.

Because standard banner material doesn’t biodegrade in a landfill and can’t be recycled, QSL is testing new banner material made from 100-percent recycled plastic bottles which, even after being printed on, can be recycled back into plastic bottles.