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Organic Cotton

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…

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.

Coming Soon

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

Has anyone heard of “The Lazy Environmentalist”? He’s this author turned TV show host who shows people how to go green by making changes as integrated and easy changes as possible. Before this summer I think I was falling into a lazy environmentalist category: I recycled, changed my light bulbs, and rode my bike often, but I stopped making changes and came to a stand-still. Now that I’m up to my eyeballs in environmental information, I’m once again becoming cognizant of how to become greener.

Something I’ve noticed that I’m really excited about is how our communities are embracing the green movement. I’m specifically talking about Sportsprint’s home (Ferguson), but it also applies to other towns and communities. One example is The Healthy Planet, a green St. Louis magazine (it’s tagline: Please Read —Then Recycle), which provides articles on going green/green events in St. Louis. Even though it seems small, a local coffee shop now has a recycling bin, as it just started recycling this summer. It’s kind of strange how psyched I was to see their recycling bin, but it’s exciting to see changes, however small, on so many levels.

Here’s more information about The Healthy Planet:

http://www.thehealthyplanet.com/

Also, here’s the link to Ideal Bite, a daily green tip email list I’m on. Today I learned about becoming a vegetarian.  Fun fact: apparently Hank Aaron and Dennis Rodman are vegetarians.

http://www.idealbite.com/

Something Sportsprint is very good at already is recycling boxes- cardboard boxes that garments arrive in are used for our shipping. This started for cost-cutting purposes, but it has the double-whammy of being very sustainable.

Sportsprint also buys boxes from a resale company who sells overstock or messed up boxes, so we often deliver our shirts in boxes that have names from other companies. One deliverer particularly noticed this when he dropped off huge Kahlua boxes at a school. Then he had to explain it wasn’t actually a Kahlua delivery. Everybody’s favorite boxes seem to be the ones that just had LARD written across them. I’ll have to take pictures of the next batch of funny boxes.

It’s green! And funny even.

A Green Summer

Our blog is now back in action but under new direction for awhile. My name is Brittany Bernacchi, and I’ll be working on the Greening of Sportsprint this summer (so I will be your go-to blogger for the next couple months). I am a rising senior at Washington University in St. Louis, and I am double majoring in biology and psychology. I found Sportsprint through an internship program at Washington University, and I was quickly drawn to their mission of making their company more sustainable. Even though I am not studying sustainability in school, environmental awareness has always been an interest of mine and has become increasingly more important to me in recent years. I’ve always been a green advocate and avid recycler, so I’m excited to be a part of a bigger scale environmental effort!

My primary goal this summer is to prepare Sportsprint for Sustainable Green Printing (SGP) Certification. This is a relatively new certification: there are currently only nine facilities in the United States who are certified SGP printers. However, many facilities are pending certification, and Sportsprint will hopefully be one of them by the end of the summer. Some of certification’s requirements include creating a Sustainability Committee, developing a Sustainability Policy, and implementing sustainable workplace practices. For more information about SGP Certification and specifics about achieving SGP Certification, please see the SHP Partnership website: https://www.sgppartnership.org/index.php

My first few days here will be spent absorbing as much information as possible, as well as making contacts for the rest of the summer. I will keep you updated with our company’s efforts to green our operation, and I look forward our progress this summer. Please feel free to contact me via this blog or my email address (brittbernacchi@gmail.com) if you have any questions or input for me or my project. Go green or go home!

Robin Smith from Channel 4 news came by our store last week to find out about our green apparel options at Sportsprint! They’re doing a segment on Going Green every Thursday at 6pm, so they wanted to talk about green clothing options. Check out the clip here:

http://www.kmov.com/projectgreen/multimedia/?nvid=286584

(the coolest part is that her assistant called me out of the blue to ask if they could come and do a story on us in 2 days.. didn’t even send a press release or nothin.)