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FLEXO Magazine : November 2010
Plants & Processes InterFlex Group & Sustainability reducing the Impacts on the environment to ensure a Brighter tomorrow By Jay Downey The size and importance of the printing industry un- derscores the need for continued efforts to reduce its overall environmental impact. Sustainable Green Printing is the industry ’s answer to achieving this goal. The Sustainable Green Printing Partnership encourages and promotes participation in environmentally responsible green printing practices. The InterFlex Group (formerly known as C&H Packaging), has embraced this initiative set forth by the Sustainable Green Partnership. The InterFlex Group consists of three facilities in North America, two in the U.K. and one in Brazil. The Merrill, WI facil- ity was the second flexo converter to be certified by the Sustain- able Green Printing Partnership (SGP) and the tenth converter overall. The InterFlex Group also plans to move forward in certifying the other two facilities located in North Carolina. InterFlex Group-Merrill began its sustainable journey long before the concept became the new way of doing business. In 2005, the plant began an active approach to looking at what was in the facility and what could be done to reuse those materials, so as to not put an unnecessary burden on the environment. During that year, the staff began to recycle soda cans, paper, batteries and magazines to name a few. Once the initial groundwork was set, with the basics of recycling, employees began to look at ways to decrease dependence on water, electricity and heat. When Merrill first heard about SGP in the spring of 2008, it was a decision that was dis- cussed at great length and debated with passion and the decision was made to begin the journey of SGP certification. The question that gets asked is, “Why SGP?” When the firm first looked at the trends of being green and sustainable, it came up with the following list: • Renewable resources. • Corporate social responsibility. • Walmart initiatives and scorecards. • Metrics, material value, product/package ratio, cube uti- lization, transportation, recycle content, recovery value, renewable energy. • Sustainable Packaging Coalition. • 7 R’s of Packaging: Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Renew, Revenue and Read. • Retailers want to be able to send waste straight to a com- post facility without need for separation. • Consumers want biodegradable packaging. • Landfills are not very appealing to citizens and regulators. From there, the company made a decision to form a sus- tainability team and look at ways it could demonstrate what we were doing to become one with the environment. Dur- ing early sustainability meetings, staff focused discussions around having some certification that could be shown to any current or potential customer that we can verify our claims on being sustainable and moving toward a greener way of doing business. From there we contacted SGP and began the process of seeking our certification. So why pursue SGP certification? • The SGP certification formalizes the business practices that help you: Develop your sustainability vision Identify and eliminate excess waste Measure and monitor environmental impact • SGP is a holistic approach to make business decisions that positively impact products and the environment • Your customers and the marketplace are demanding sustainable solutions that reduce their carbon footprint When the team reviewed these benefits with upper man- agement, it received full support to begin the process. How do you start the process? 1. Form a sustainability team 2. Draft a sustainability policy 3. Submit the application to SGP with your signed sustain- able policy 4. Develop a Sustainable Management System 5. Develop goals. We choose to develop our goal based off of the SMART theory These goals needed to be specific, measurable, achiev- able, relevant and time bound. It became the responsibility of the sustainability team to meet on a regular basis and review the process and goals to make sure it is on track and adjust accordingly. Once the above was in place and the signed sustainabil- ity policy was accepted by SGP, the team then requested the desktop audit from SGP. The desktop audit consisted of providing documentation on the process and procedures in place as per the guidelines. An auditor then verified that we InterFlex Group Sustainability Milestones • Began its first internal recycling program in 2005. • Earned 2008 FTA Environmental Excellence Award (as C&H Packaging). • Achieved SGP certification in October 2009. had all of the paperwork in place. Once this was approved, the team then requested an auditor to come into the facility and review the procedures and processes in action. With both audits done, the work was finally competed, right? Wrong! That was when the real work began. The staff is now demonstrating continuous improvement through yearly proj- ects that are submitted back to the SGP board for review. SGP certification is about ongoing improvement and gaining better understanding of why it is important to always move forward. The most common question heard at the Merrill facility is, “What has SGP certification done for you?” Listed are the three areas that have been impacted the most. The Plant. Adopting sustainable best practices in the plants has lead to some milestone achievements with respect to metrics and results that the company tracks. For instance, InterFlex has cut water usage at one site more than 90 percent by switching to a 100 percent closed loop cooling system. It has reduced landfill waste almost 70 percent by finding various recycling outlets for all of its waste streams. Electrical demands have been cut almost 20 percent by placing more emphasis on controlling the usage and through updated lighting. Finally, it has reduced heating fuel consumption by redistributing heat produced from the equipment to other parts of the facilities that would have otherwise consumed energy for heating. In addi- tion to the environmental impacts above, it also adheres to the social responsibility of having best practices as it applies to the fair management and treatment of employees. Less Bulk theDi fference! Experience We’ve assembled the finest plate processing equipment for tag and label printers looking to create or update a prepress department, like the ESKO 1712 flexo plate and film imager. The ESKO 1712 is a small footprint, cost-effective imager that is feature rich. The 1712 images up to A3 size (16.5" x 11.8") and .12" thick in 9 minutes and 30 seconds (customers report a 20% cost reduction in plate processing). The AVflex 8000 is also designed for limited space and offers everything you need to process eco-friendly, solvent-wash plates up to 12"x 18". This multi-function system includes a 2-brush rotary washout unit, exposure section, oven and plate finisher. A&V complements these systems with printing plate materials from industry leaders that include Flint Group and Toyobo, and provides support and a level of service second-to-none. Put our 50 years of flexo experience to work for you. A narrow web prepress department with... MORE BRAWN Toll-free: 866.282.7697 Fax: 800.223.6869 www.AndVre.com | info@AndVre.com AV_9588_Esko_AVflex.indd 1 9/8/10 7:28:31 AM 60 FLEXO novemBer 2010 www.flexography.org Fall conference EDItIon FLX_Nov10_mech.indd 60 11/1/10 2:25 PM
Sustainable Fall 2010