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PLEASE CONSIDER THE ENVIRONMENT…

Before printing this email……….

Don’t you love getting this tagline at the bottom of emails? I do. I really do! It means to me that this person spent at least 15 seconds considering the environment while adding this to their email signature. In my book, every second counts. This person may or may not be like me – an ardent, enthusiastic recycler, standing in line on hazardous waste days with my cell phone and computer batteries, printer cartridges and fluorescent bulbs. Faithfully schlepping and sorting bins of paper, plastic and cans in addition to composting everything the dog doesn’t eat.

Tree GlobeBut it makes me wonder, has this person looked at the bigger picture to assess the impact their electronic communication has on the environment? I’m not going to stand on a soap box here, decrying the detrimental effects of the mining of gold, silver and palladium as well as the use of unrecyclable plastics and use of hydrocarbon solvents (not to mention the energy consumption used to power massive data centers). But I do think we should consider what Two Sides puts so very nicely:

“Organizations that truly want to make responsible environmental choices should do so based on rigorous, factual and verifiable life cycle assessments of each alternative. Rather than ask which is better, paper or electronic communications we should be working to figure out which combination of the two has the least impact on the environment while best meeting social and economic needs.”

The use of paper from managed and sustainable forestry (why, yes, we are a Forest Stewardship Council certified printer, which as of Jan 2013, has 172,771,944 acres of sustainable forests and 4,506 companies certified in the US and Canada). Approximately 60% of all paper in the US is recycled and more than 63% of the fiber used to make new paper is made from recycled sources. This, coupled with the efficiencies incorporated by paper mills and printers like us, makes paper use one of the most renewable and sustainable resources.

Back to Two Sides:

“Nearly two thirds of the energy used by the US pulp and paper mills is self generated using renewable, carbon-neutral biomass in high-efficiency combined heat and power (CHP) systems. In fact, the US paper and forest industry produces and uses more renewable energy than all the other industrial sectors combined.”

Okay, so enough about the big picture; now more about us. Have you noticed my tagline “Named New Hampshire Green Business of the Year”? That’s right, I live, work and play it. What did it take for R.C. Brayshaw & Company to earn this distinction? As far as infrastructure goes, upon purchasing our building in West Lebanon in 2010, and prior to taking occupancy, it underwent a massive transformation from an energy sucking vortex to a highly efficient facility with a new roof, along with energy efficient lighting and air-conditioning systems.

As far as our daily standard practices, I already mentioned being an FSC certified printer with its strict guidelines for certification and promoting sustainable forests. In addition, we recycle between four and five tons of paper a week. All paper – left over from print runs, carton packaging, hamburger wrappers, you name it. We use vegetable based inks with the lowest VOC (volatile organic compounds) possible, which applies to our press chemicals, as well. Our state of the art Heidelberg presses minimize setup and waste during run time, lowering power and material consumption. We use materials such as MicroGREEN, which is made 100% from recyclable materials on our wide format press, and our UV inks are safe in hospital and restaurant environments.

Green FeetAt R.C. Brayshaw & Company, we are a group of experienced and dedicated people who care deeply about our industry and the impact our sustainable practices have on our local and global community. If you’re interested in what you can do to share this practice, please see our Green Shoes Blog Post posted on May 30, 2012.

Authored by Cate Stratton, Marketing Solutions Consultant