I have a day job. I manage high end (and sometimes not so high end) printing at the university in my town. My passions are transformational leadership, music, art, literature, yoga, mother nature, and mountain biking – and I am working toward having more time to do all of these things, and even making a living doing what I love.
In the meantime, I am pretty darn good at what I do currently for my bread and butter – partly because I have a degree in art (Painting and Printmaking), partly because I get a kick out of figuring out how to make things better and putting theories into action, partly because I know what I am doing and talking about (let me feel your paper and I can probably tell you weight, coating, and sometimes even brand) and mostly because I practice kindness and enjoy helping people feel at ease.
Besides being a mountain bike freak, I bike commute to work everyday – even when it’s snowing or raining. So does my boss. Another colleague walks everyday. On very personal levels, we do our parts to care for the environment. Our care has extended to our day jobs – and it is something I feel really good about.
While I don’t often share about my regular work – I feel inspired about the sustainable focus my department has initiated and am happy to say it is inspiring other departments at the university. Since the university is one of the biggest employers in town – that’s a good thing!
Many people come to Flagstaff to study Forestry and the Environment, and of course, with printing, we use a lot of trees! This is the first round of our environmental/green shift at the shop, and we decided to let the university know the added sustainable value of our department in addition to the printing we do. This initiative is having a great response and is giving my colleagues and me the warm fuzzies all around.
Below is the letter I sent to campus last week. I also sent it to a group of university printers around the country – as a result, I’ve been invited to speak at a printing conference next fall!
Help us up-cycle your vinyl banners!
Printing Services repurposes vinyl banners!
If you have banners that are no longer of service to you, the next time you place an order with us, let us know. We will take away your used vinyl when we deliver your latest print project.
Our Environmental Direction – and what it means for NAU
At Printing Services, we have a huge opportunity to influence the ecological impact of not only our department, but of the entire university. We continually review and adapt our processes to reflect our care and stewardship of the environment – from the initial ordering process all the way to delivery of your project and beyond.
Listed below are our sustainability efforts from start to finish in our ordering process.
The front office is where we collect your printing orders. Our efforts to create paper waste efficiencies have also resulted in saved time overall. Check it out – we:
- Print our order tickets double-sided on 100% recycled paper.
- Digitally archive quotes and estimates rather than print them.
- Turned off our fax machine, reducing fax spam. Let’s face it, anybody offering a loan via fax doesn’t know what century it is.
- Use scrap paper for notes and doodling. Did you know doodling is good for the brain?
- Our digital storefront and custom estimate request forms are ways for us to quickly gather all the information and approvals we need to help you with your project without using paper.
Paper stock is as important as paper usage. In our Digital Print Center all of our house stock is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified and some is partially or all PCW (post-consumer waste) content.
- We recently switched our standard copy paper from 30% PCW to 100% PCW. 100% PCW means the paper is 100% recycled and no live trees were used to make the paper! At 450,000 sheets a year, that makes a big impact.
- The Forest Stewardship Council is an organization that works to promote the practice of sustainable forestry worldwide.
Sometimes projects go out to our Print Partners. All have gone through a review process and must meet specific standards outlined by the university.
- All are FSC Certified, which means they are audited by the FSC. FSC Chain-of-Custody certification traces the path of products from forests through the supply chain, verifying that FSC-certified material is identified or kept separated from non-certified material throughout the chain. (FSC)
- They are locally based in Arizona
- All use soy and vegetable-based inks – and most use the newest technology that minimizes chemicals, plates and VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
- Do you like that suede feel on your brochures and booklets? Our print partners use soft touch coating that is water-based, recyclable, and non-toxic.
- One of our contractors is a certified EPA Green Power Partner.
Most banners, posters and signage are created in our Large Format Department.
- Our long-term signage and wall graphics are made of 3M Vinyl and overlaminate that is non-PVC and phthalate-free. They contain no added chlorine or halogens and are manufactured using 58% less solvents than standard films and are made in part of bio-based material.
- Some of our sign boards are recyclable – we are in the process of making most of our sign boards 100% recyclable. Both large format printers use water-based inks (not harmful solvent) and are Energy Star Certified
- We are looking to repurpose sign waste (used coroplast) and to collecting and repurposing signage
- Let us know if you have old banners – we will pick them up the next time you have a print project delivered. We are currently looking into upcycling projects using vinyl!
Bindery is where we cut, fold, and finish your project.
- We are phasing out the use of plastic shrink wrap and replacing it with merchandise wrap using non-toxic 100# PCW kraft paper sleeves and 100% PCW identification labels.
- We use scrap paper that would otherwise go to the landfill to make notepads. If we have these repurposed courtesy notepads on hand when you place a job request, you will receive a pad with your order!
Staging and Delivery is where we check in inventory, box, and deliver your product.
- We repurpose and reuse supplier and vendor packaging including paper boxes whenever possible.
- You may have noticed our most recent change upon job delivery – the switch to a paperless digital delivery system. We no longer use NCR paper for delivery receipts.
Our efforts are already paying off! Printing Services reached one of our wish list goals and became the first department in 2019 to receive the Green Office Certificate from the NAU Office of Sustainability! It is exciting to see the options we have for making our business as environmentally low-impact as possible, and to be in accordance with NAU’s sustainability goals. Step-by-step, we are making a difference.
Thanks for reading!
It is a true pleasure working with you. Have an amazing day and a beautiful life!
All of us at NAU Printing Services