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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

QSL also uses only soy-based ink, so there are no harmful toxins polluting the air or noxious chemicals stored in their buildings. And utilizing digital presses allows the company to produce shorter print runs with fewer setups, only printing what’s absolutely necessary. Their web-to-print services make it even easier to control inventory and reduce waste.

“If you’re not paying attention, all sorts of waste can add up over time,” continues Koke. “It didn’t happen overnight, but each year we got better and smarter, and we saw the efficiencies begin to add up. That all turns directly into profit.”

The company maintains this level of consistency by making it easy and convenient for employees to participate. Beginning with early education and ensuring that everything in the manufacturing process is labeled reduces mistakes and prevents errors. QSL has also set up reminder signs and recycling bins around the shop for a multitude of materials, including plastic/glass/metal commingling, paper products, refundable items, and even compost – going so far as creating an area for staff to compost leftover lunch and dinner scraps.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing, though. “We embraced a diverse set of green technologies and renewable resources early on,” explains Koke, “but there were concerns about quality. And to us, and more importantly, to our customers, quality is paramount.”

Through some expected trial and error – and the due diligence of searching for and sourcing products and materials from the right suppliers and vendors who champion sustainability as much as the shop does – those original concerns never proved to be an issue. “You can maintain high quality and be sustainable,” observes Koke. “It has its challenges, but it’s definitely possible, because we’re doing it.”

This sustainable tradeshow booth was recently completed by QSL for a local B2B Expo. A layered, dimensional piece, the booth is built completely from recyclable substrates, even down to the reusable plastic panel joints.

To stay accountable, QSL uses Bring Recycling, one of the nation’s oldest nonprofit recyclers, and their RE:think Business certification, a free, comprehensive program that helps Lane County, Oregon, businesses reduce waste and save money.