Environmental best practices such as recycling and reducing emissions can also help printing facilities cut their operating expenses, according to the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP).
The certification program, which also provides educational services to help print manufacturers and print buyers create sustainable supply chains, has set a goal to certify more than 50 new facilities this year, doubling the number of certified sustainable printers in the US and Canada.
Walmart Print Solutions and the US Government Printing Office are among the organizations that have received SGP certification. SGP patrons include 3M, International Paper and Hewlett-Packard.
In addition to doubling the number of certified facilities, the SGP board has set a 2017 goal to increase engagement with suppliers, retail brands and other organizations that commit to working with certified facilities. Existing certified facilities report environmental and cost savings, according to the Board Report of the SGP Certified Facility Survey. These include:
- 62 percent of certified facilities divert a higher volume of materials from landfills and incineration by increasing recycling.
- 62 percent of certified facilities significantly reduce volatile organic compound (VOCs) emissions.
- 52 percent of certified facilities report reduced energy consumption, lowering operating costs and waste.
Additionally, some organizations require sustainable printing practices from their suppliers and as such, SGP certification can help print facilities win new business, SGP says.
To achieve certification, facilities must meet requirements including energy audits every two years, assessments for indoor air quality and emissions reductions, adoption of mandatory best management practices, establishment of a sustainability committee and policy, annual reports to SGP and continuous improvement projects.
Majestic Athletic, which prints roughly 25 million pieces of licensed apparel for Major League Baseball, the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Harley-Davidson and other properties, in October became the first major apparel brand to earn the SGP certification for an owned printing facility.
In its first year of certification, in addition to benchmarking energy, waste and water, Majestic also will reduce its primary source of VOCs from 78 tons per year to zero by shifting to a different screen-cleaning compound. Future projects under consideration include investments in water-reuse technologies and energy-saving occupancy lighting.
“The impacts of printing are sometimes overlooked in the apparel industry,” said Roian Atwood, director of sustainability for Majestic. “But athletic brands of this size do tremendous amounts of printing that require safe and responsible management of chemicals, water, energy and other resources.”