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Start “going green”

Graphics | May 1, 2009 | By:

If it’s time for your company to “go green,” the Fabric Graphics Association (FGA) wants to help. FGA has developed sustainability guidelines to encourage companies to adopt practices that conserve resources and energy, minimize the use of harmful chemicals, and look for opportunities to apply sustainable practices throughout your organization. To start, make three lists:

  1. Practices that promote sustainability
  2. Operations and products that require change and have a solution for change available, but not adopted
  3. Processes that need to be evaluated before change can happen

To some extent, finding sustainable solutions for your particular circumstances is a matter of ingenuity, but these practices, implemented by member companies, may help to get the ideas flowing:

  • Use scrap vinyl to keep work tables clean and finished products protected
  • Use foam scraps for packing material
  • Install an on-demand hot water heater for use in dyeing fabrics
  • Recycle metal components, cardboard and paper
  • Implement an energy-saving lighting program
  • Install night and weekend setback thermostats
  • Computer process all orders to reduce paper consumption
  • Use recycled, recyclable and biodegradable textiles
  • Manage shipping more efficiently to reduce costs and carbon footprint
  • Implement printing processes that produce fewer VOCs and pollutants
  • Ship customer scraps and discarded projects to fiber recycling sites

Nora Norby, president of Banner Creations, Minneapolis, Minn., is passionate about her company’s environmental responsibility. “Tomorrow, do something different to take the first step toward sustainability,” she says. “We all have the capability to make wise choices towards more sustainable work practices.”

It takes a commitment, but any effort—even one as small as recycling soda cans and plastic bottles—is a meaningful step, with very little time or cost. Like most new practices, getting past inertia requires the biggest effort; after that, just keep going.

Jan Schieffer is managing director of the Fabric Graphics Association. FGA and Fabric Graphics magazine are part of the Industrial Fabrics Association International.

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