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    Russell Viers is a Transition Expert in the publishing world. Since 1997 he has helped newspapers and magazines adapt to changes in the industry. Read more...

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  • Thinking About a Green Yearbook?

    October 3rd, 2008 by Russell Viers

    Last year, when I visited Stephanie at St. John’s in Waterloo to discuss her yearbook, she said she wanted to use a “going green” theme for the book. First off we started discussing recycled paper and what that involves. She pulled off a brilliant book with an awesome nature theme and we used the agreed on recycled paper.

    This year I had a request from Mikhayla in London to do a “going green” theme book and we started talking recycled paper. She wanted more. She wanted to know about paper, but also other things Walsworth can offer that help her show she is truly “going green” with her yearbook.

    One suggestion I had right off the bat was to go with lighter paper than the 100# gloss they had used in the past to save on shipping cost and fuel wasted in transport. We talked about eco-friendly cover options and more.

    But she still wanted more, so I called Joe Cupp at the Walsworth plant and asked him “What does Walsworth offer a school that wants to push this green initiative…something beyond just recycled paper.”

    Well, Joe just dumped information on my about all the great things Walsworth is doing for our ecosystem on so many levels, not just recycling and vegetable inks. We have an entire “Green Initiative” for the company that focuses on five key areas:

    • Reduce quantities or frequency.
    • Recycle materials and purchase recycled products where feasible.
    • Replace old, energy stealing technology with new.
    • Sustainability of resources provides for our future.
    • Teach employees and Customers what they can do to achieve these environmental goals.

    Within these key areas Walsworth has, company-wide, taken on helping the environment. Here is a pretty comprehensive list:

    1. Recycle of all scrap paper, aluminum, alloys and corrugated. Walsworth Publishing Company has routinely sorted and recycled scrap material. Unprinted “white” paper is segregated from printed scrap and baled for easier shipping. Aluminum plates are also recycled along with other scrap alloys such as copper, brass, steel and magnesium. Corrugated is recycled – and may actually show back up in the binder’s board we use for hard bound books.

    2. Is Recycled paper better? Many of our papers are currently made with 10% or even 30% recycled content. A good rule of thumb is – if the use of the paper is to be one step of quality lower than the original use, the recycled paper will work well. Printed books to magazines; magazines to newsprint; newsprint to corrugated boxes; corrugated to binder’s board. Once paper fiber has been produced, the recycle process shortens this fiber again – making the resultant paper weaker and thus does not handle well on press. Also, the amount of energy as well as chemicals required to recycle paper into a great printing sheet is greater than if virgin pulp was used.

    3. Reduction of VOC’s from inks and cleaners. Our Purchasing Department has made major strides finding and introducing us to materials with a dramatically smaller volatile organic compound footprint. All new materials go through a rigorous approval process to insure our carbon footprint is reduced. These new materials are better for our employees, our local community and for the whole environment.

    4. Use of sustainable materials in our printing ink. Our printing ink must perform to reproduce rich, saturated colors on a variety of paper stocks. The inks we use for web contain soy oils as part of the vehicle system while our sheet fed inks utilize linseed oil made from flax.

    5. Recycle of used blanket wash into water and reusable wash. Utilizing new technology, we distill our used blanket wash, breaking it down to water and reusable blanket wash. The small amount of residue and waste ink is then incinerated off site through our waste removal service.

    6. Reduction in scrap through better estimates of need and improved paper yield. Throwing out leftover material has been reduced by planning tighter spoilage allowances, mixing less pounds of spot color ink, planning for the minimum sheet size for each job, and by utilizing new technology to reduce waste. For example, our new Heidelberg perfectors use only forty sheets for make ready of both sides – while our older, Komori presses required 120 sheets for each side – thus we save 80% on maker ready paper.

    7. Using digital devices to replace litho printing. Although currently slower and less capable of outstanding color reproduction, digital technology is improving. Where feasible we move projects to digital presses where waste is one or two sheets at the max.

    8. Moving from analog proofing to on-line. Analog proofs require toner, paper, labels, wrapping & packaging, ground transport several times, and of course, air transport to meet deadlines. On-line proofing offers 24/7 conveniences with no need to expend energy or materials to move this information. Likewise digital capture has eliminated the need for silver based films and photo processing.

    9. Virtual meetings replacing face to face meetings requiring travel. Although face to face meetings are important to us (as well as the occasional business lunch), making some meeting virtual does save the energy needed to travel.

    10. Use of sustainable forest products. Walsworth has earned both FSC & SFI Chain of Custody certifications. We are able to fully participate in those programs where paper is made from sustainable forests. The certification is your guarantee of this. Not only are certified forests sustainable, but all the wildlife in that forest is protected.

    11. Exploration of wind power for electrical needs. As wind generated electricity becomes feasible, more of this power is added to electrical grids for residential and industrial use. Walsworth regularly meets with our state and local energy organizations to promote research and implementation of wind generated electricity. Our company purchases wind credits through our electrical provider which supports our green initiative.

    12. Conversion of motors and appliances to EnergyStar models. Just as new technology has brought us improvements in direct manufacturing, our auxiliary equipment can be upgraded as well.

    13. Replacement of inefficient lights with better models. Incandescent bulbs often produce more IR (heat) energy than they do light. Newer style bulbs along with simply shutting off unused lights help us here. (Leaving an office for more than 15 minutes is the threshold for saving power). The new bulbs and fixtures allow us to reduce power consumption. We are reducing the number of fixtures in all areas.

    14. Purchasing Green Seal products. These cleaning and paper products have been certified as being made under environmentally friendly conditions and contain human and environmentally safer materials. These materials include paper for end sheets in our books, to paper towels and wipes, to cleaners.

    15. Shutting equipment off when not in use. Shutting off computers and production equipment when not in use not only reduces energy consumption, but it increases the life of the equipment.

    16. Photovoltaic Renewable Energy. Our company is currently researching the benefits of photovoltaic renewable energy (solar panels). We will continue to look at this alternative along with fuel cell technology for possible use in our corporation.

    17. Energy Management System. We plan to install an energy management system in each facility within the next two years. This system will allow us to monitor and control our peak usage at all times which will reduce our demand. This will reduce our carbon foot print significantly.

    18. Water Use Reduction. Over the last 5 years, we have reduced our water usage by 60% through water recycling and reduction. This has minimized our waste water output by the same amount.

    19. Plant a Tree. Within the last three years, we have planted trees around our facilities in an effort to support our green initiative. We have increased our tree and shrub count by 200% on Walsworth properties.

    At the Fall Yearbook Conference last week in Lindau I caught up with Stephanie and apologized for not going far enough for her the previous year and researching this information…I had no idea Walsworth was making such a push.

    She said it was no problem in that their green theme is ongoing throughout the school and would still be of value in this year’s yearbook. Other yearbook advisers who were listening into my remorseful pleading for forgiveness also asked for this information, so I’m glad to provide it here.

    One final note on something I’ve been doing in Europe for the past two years is paperless contracts (if you want them). I have been creating contracts as PDFs that will accept digital signatures. All you have to do is set up your digital signature on your version of Acrobat and then click in the space provided, enter your password that you set up and return it to me via email. I then email it to the plant…no paper.

    I must say I’ve been proud of the quality of workmanship Walsworth has provided all of my customers here in Europe…but now I have pride in knowing they go further than most printers in helping our current ecological crisis.

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