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FLEXO Magazine : January 2008
PLANTS & PROCESSES Ps & Qs r --:: - - - Printers , & Questions \ ...._ (I " ! 1 Sustainability 0= First steps ./ 0b -' \ W here do I begin? That seems to be the question when most flexographic printers/converters think about sus- tainability. The concept involves so much more than simply recycling and reducing waste. Some firms are looking to FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) certifications, but these alone do not make a company Usustainable." And what about those who are working with films and other synthetic substrates? At present, FT A and a collective of graphic arts associations have formed the Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) Partnership. One of this coalition's tdforts is to create a sustainability certification program and guidelines (an update on SGP Partnership will appear in FLEXO's March 2008 issue). In the meantime, many printers/converters are already taking those crucial first steps and building more environmen- tally conscious policies. Phyllis Kerr, plant administrator for Global Packaging Inc., Oaks, PA, shared her company's experience and tdfort breaking into the wide world of sustain ability. As a small company by most standards, Global Packaging Inc. of Oaks, PA definitely feels the pressure of the sustainability topic in today's market. Global Packaging has always been committed to being an environmentally friendly company, basing its equip- ment, its values in the industry and community and its goals as providing a high-quality product with as minimum impact on the environment as possible. We have been approached by our customer base wanting to know what we are doing to become a sustainable printer. It has been challenging. The first challenge was to understand what exactly everyone meant by the term sustainability. Once the defi- nition was understood, we had to meet and think through what exactly we were doing as a company. Being a flexographic printer working with raw materials such as polyethylene, polypropylenes, solvent -based inks, and various cus- tomer specifications that do not lend towards easy sustainable so- lutions, Global looked at our environmental and quality programs and all the positive activity we do. Several colleagues have advised to brag about what you do. Every little bit helps. We looked at all of the current activity, which includes programs for recycling anything from polyethylene to solvent to cardboard to office waste to skids and drums, etc. We - also capture the heat from our compressors and other equipment and recycle it back through the facility. Global works with its film suppliers and customers on down-gauging programs, and have an active quality program networked throughout the facility for controlling variables in the printing program to reduce waste on a normal basis. Global also calculated a carbon footprint of our facility to give ourselves a baseline to work with in the future. Beyond the foot- print proj ect, we recently worked with DuPont on a life cycle analy- sis of printing plates. This helped us to focus on a controllable situation in our facility that we could assess and do a better job on with no constraints of outside approvals. The decision immedi- ately went to our solvent distillation program. We are working with our recovery company on changing our current practices and our distillation program to gain even more solvent back for re-use in our printing program. Aside from the obvious financial gains, one of the ultimate goals is to become a small quantity generator. A local college is working with the Department of Energy to do a P2E2 energy audit for our plant. We feel this will give us the direction needed to gain small accomplishments in the manufac- turing environment that will enable us to lower the impact on the outside environment. Global Packaging is also involved in the community around us working with the Metro Philadelphia Industry Partnership, which includes local larger companies on presenting opportunities, set- ting goals, and building a network that will facilitate the transfer of ideas, technologies and success stories that will ultimately improve our local area's environment. Goals include, but are not limited to, multi-pollutant reduction, greenhouse gases, and community proj- ects. Energy workshops have already been held and hold a great deal of information for the smaller company to pick from to gain small accomplishments in their facility. As a small company, Global Packaging feels it is important to listen first, understand what you heard second, network with the people who have the larger resources, learn from what they have already experienced and then put the infrastructure in place for your program. You will not get it all right away, but celebrate the small stuff and keep moving forward. -Phyllis Kerr, Global Packaging Inc. JANUARY 2008 www.flexography.org FLEXO