Closing the loop by engaging supply chain in environmental management
We realised that going it alone wouldn’t have the biggest positive impact on the environment. It made sense to look along our entire supply chain to maximize environmental sustainability. So we talked to the business involved. Our paper suppliers. Transportation companies. Printing consumables like inks and blankets. And most importantly, our customers.
We got together with our key customers and suppliers. We asked them to consider the effects of print manufacturing so they could firstly get an understanding of our commitment to sustainability, and then to work with us to build a win-win system to minimise waste. Often these were simple, and completely logical when we stood back to look at the results.
Here are some examples:
Suppliers: Inwards Goods Delivery
When we considered our waste we found large amounts were being generated because suppliers were delivering goods on pallets which could not be re-used. They were either broken or in odd custom sizes.
So we talked to our various suppliers and were able to get agreement on only using pallets of a standard size and in good condition. Simple!
The immediate outcome was surprising. Waste was drastically reduced. Our cost of landfill waste disposal immediately dropped by 50%
But it gets even better. In 2001 our landfill costs were $7,200. In 2008, and generating 5 times the business compared to 2001, the cost of waste to landfill had dropped $1,200. In real terms, that’s a cost saving of over 86%! Not even counting the environmental benefit.
It’s clear to see (Jan 2002) when our staff bought into proper waste stream management and our suppliers started to understand what is was we wanted from them in terms of reducing packaging and using standard pallet sizes. These are the two important ingredients of our success here: involving staff and clients.
This result is what Focus Press is most proud, and shows that our waste stream management program is working.
Suppliers: Ink Delivery
Another large impact was created by used ink tins. Ink tins aren’t an efficient method of delivering ink to a printing press. Between 7% and 15% of waste ink is left in every ink tin after use. We were wasting both money and ink.
So a different method of ink delivery was implemented with the help of our suppliers. The newer method uses plastic cartridges and a plunge system to dispense the ink. This method uses 99.9% of the ink in the canister and the plastic container then can be recycled.
Customers: Landfill Waste Reduction
When our customers heard we were looking at ways to reduce waste, and increase efficiency, they wanted in. Environmental sustainability isn’t just about Focus Press, so we were happy to help our customers reduce their footprint as well. We found that many of our customers were interested in “closing the loop” with packaging and thereby reducing their waste to landfill.
So we started a service to pick up cartons and pallets for re-use. We also implemented a paper waste recycling service at no cost to the customer. The outcome has been very good for the environment. Some customers now have very little waste to dispose of when printing with Focus. And it’s good business for us.