Archive for July, 2009

Since our meeting with Dave Goebel from Missouri Enterprise, I’ve been researching our options for updating Sportsprint’s lighting system.  Right now our facility is equipped with all T12 lights, and we want to upgrade to the more energy efficient T8 lamps.  Actually, we could go further and upgrade to T5 lights, which are even more energy efficient.  You know how the day after you buy a new computer it’s already old news?  That’s what happened with T8 lighting- just as we’re looking into transitioning to T8, we learn that T8 lighting is already being phased out!  It’s both the wonder and frustration of technology.

Since there’s so much green funding available these days, a (hopefully) substantial proportion of our improvement project can be funded by incentive programs.  Plus the Lean, Clean and Green Assessment estimated this would save us about $1000/year!  Not too shabby.  There are tons of incentives out there if you’re interested in upgrading either your business or your home.  Here’s the database of incentives I found when researching funding.  Missouri has a lot of great programs.  Maybe you can get your next project partially or fully funded for you!

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Here’s our sustainability policy we worked on during our 2nd sustainability committee meeting!  Enjoy!

Sportsprint is a family owned and operated company founded in 1973 specializing in custom screenprinting and embroidery of team and promotional apparel.  As Sportsprint moves into its next generation, we have become more conscious of and committed to making our company more sustainable.  In order to continually strive toward sustainability, we commit to the following values:

  • We realize sustainability is a process, not an end goal, and therefore commit to continuous sustainability improvement projects.
  • Sportsprint will implement changes in order to achieve environmental, health and safety compliance goals, such as:
    • Conserving energy and utilities and increasing our efficiency
    • Focusing on source reduction and recycling
    • Integrating eco-friendly products into our overall operations
    • Establishing baselines and identifying problem areas in order to capitalize on our strengths, improve our weaknesses, and monitor our progress
  • We will share our sustainability goals, as well as our progress, with our employee team, vendors, customers and community.  We will seek their feedback and utilize their input for achieving our goal.

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Tomorrow is our second Sustainability Committee meeting!  Here’s an overview of some of the items we’ll be discussing at the meeting:

1) We’re going over the Sustainability Policy that I drafted based on our first Sustainability Meeting brainstorming.  So I think after tomorrow I’ll have it available for everyone to see!

2) Expanding upon our ongoing sustainability improvement project (we’re leaning toward our first official project to be waste reduction).

3) Deciding how to lead our green-themed monthly all-team meeting.

We’re also going to discuss how to best share our progress with the public, which is where you can come in!  Question for our readers: What do you think are good ways to share our sustainability news to people outside our company? Of course, I’ll keep news posted on the website and on the blog, but any ideas beyond that?  I’d appreciate your input!

GREEN TIP!!! (In case the capitalization and exclamation points didn’t let you know, I really like this tip)  To save lots of paper and trees (as well as getting rid of a nuisance), here are ways to stop getting unwanted junk mail:

Thanks to idealbite for these awesome sites.  The average person gets 560 pieces of junk mail a year!

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I’m sure you’ve caught on to this, but I’ve decided to alternate full blog posts with a short post with green facts.  It’s a green fact day!

Fun green fact (thanks to Randy, who’s on our Sustainability Committee): recycling just one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a computer for three hours or a TV for two hours.

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Last year we had a Missouri Enterprise Lean, Clean and Green assessment performed for Sportsprint, and we just had our follow up meeting this last week.  I learned that Sportsprint was the first company to undergo this assessment.  Until this follow-up meeting, I never fully understood how many changes were made as a result of the assessment since I wasn’t working for Sportsprint at the time.

However, when we had a walk-through with Mr. Goebel (our Missouri Enterprise partner), he was absolutely floored by the organizational changes made in the production room.  We had replaced some equipment and pumps as a result of the assessment, but seeing Mr. Goebel’s reaction was my favorite part of the follow-up meeting.  A lot of the changes were organizational ones to improve efficiency, but there were also more direct sustainability changes (for example: sealing ink cans to contain fumes and improve quality).  It was very exciting to hear about the progress!

Something we’ve been talking about doing this summer is planting a “Sustainability Kick-Off” tree, so I’ve been researching native trees to plant.  That’s when I came across my green fact of the day, courtesy of Idealbite: If 10,000 people plant just one tree, in a year, we’d keep the CO2 produced by 138 round-trip flights from LA to Paris out of the atmosphere (and planes have TONS of emissions).

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Why buy organic shirts?

A cotton t-shirt blended with polyester can release approximately one quarter of its weight in air pollutants and ten times its weight in carbon dioxide.  This fact just astounded me.

It takes 1/3 pound of chemicals to grow one pound of conventional cotton.  So by choosing an organic cotton shirt just once, you save 150 grams of agricultural chemicals being used.  That’s over 1/4 of a pound of chemicals!  Just imagine a quarter pounder with cheese worth of chemicals…that’s what you’re avoiding.

My comfiest shirt is an organic shirt that says “Plastic Bags Blow.”  Oh puns.  It’s unbelievably comfortable.  I never want to go back after wearing this shirt…

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Even though I’ve talked about reusing Lard and Kahlua boxes, I haven’t shared a bigger list of what Sportprint is doing to go green.   So here are some examples of what else we’re doing!

  • Implemented paper recycling program through Pedro’s Planet
  • Use recycled and biodegradable packaging: we reuse our boxes and use biodegradable bags (we even have an additive that speeds up the process!)
  • Reuse screens used for our t-shirts
  • Use waste computer paper for printing process (some of our stencils are made of discarded cardstock)
  • Recycle beverage containers, buy communal items (soap, sugar, coffee, etc.) in bulk, use cloth towels

Our first major step in greening Sportsprint was participating in the Missouri Enterprise Lean, Clean and Green Assessment, which was an assessment of what we do well and what we can improve on.  Just yesterday we had our one year follow up meeting!  Tomorrow I’ll update you on our assessment and follow-up meeting.

Here’s a link to our recycler, Pedro’s Planet.  They sell office supplies and take our recycling when they deliver the supplies.  Also, they’re super.

Green fun fact, courtesy of ecofabulous: If every UK office worker used one less staple a day, we’d save 120 tons of steel.  Just goes to show how even the tiniest changes add up.

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One of my major tasks in the upcoming weeks is forming a sustainability committee at Sportsprint that’s…shocker!…sustainable. Since I’m only working at Sportsprint this summer, every step along the way I have to prepare for my transfer of responsibilities, resources, etc. to the rest of the Sustainability Committee. We need a sustainability committee to meet SGP standards, but it works really well for my situation because we’ll already have a group formed and working toward our goals.

One of the first goals of the Sustainability Committee is making a sustainability policy for our company, which we’ll then make available to the public (so expect a grand unveiling via blog posts soon!). Plus we’ll brainstorm an ongoing sustainability project for the upcoming year…stay tuned!

Another fact (maybe a green fact will become a regular on my blog): we use 80,000,000,000 aluminum cans a year. Can you believe that? On a related note, I need to curb my Diet Coke addiction…

Also, Sportsprint has officially jumped on the Twitter craze.  Check us out!  http://twitter.com/sportsprint

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