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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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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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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I was pretty excited on April 17th and not just because Earth Day was just around the corner.
We decided to move forward with an initiative called Lean, Clean, & Green, and will be working closely with the good folks at Missouri Enterprise to reduce waste, reduce energy usage, and source the greenest supplies for our company. Lean manufacturing has long been a sought after method of manufacturers wanting to streamline their operations to not only reduce waste of materials, but also reduce wasted TIME. Consultants get paid big bucks to help manufacturing businesses “lean” their operations, with the idea that the money will be returned to the company tenfold (or more) in the savings it will see in a short period of time.
We have decided to work with Missouri Enterprise on this program for several reasons:
1. Missouri Enterprise is actually a not-for-profit consulting firm (which is somewhat misleading, because they’re really all about profit, but in a way that’s good for everyone involved). This means that they offer services at a much lower cost than traditional consulting firms, and that means that a small family business like ours can actually work with them.
2. We love their mission: to help Missouri businesses succeed! ’nuff said.
3. They have a stake in seeing us succeed: they’re compensated based on the effectiveness of the program they enlist us in.
4. This program is about much more than just streamlining our operation. It will give us our initial diagnosis and plan of action for greening our company.
5. We’ve been chosen to receive some grant assistance to cover the cost of the program, making it affordable for us AND allowing us to be a pilot project of the program in Missouri. Yeah, basically we’re the guinea pig.
Check out more on Missouri Enterprise on their website.
Check out more on their Lean, Clean, and Green program here.
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