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Case Study > Helping to Green Print


Helping to Green Print: Conestoga dpi LLC

Essential components in our everyday life are taking a toll on the environment. While companies depend on paper and packaging as an intricate part of their daily operations, we need to find other routes to successfully provide these services to meet consumer demands. Sustainable printing involves everything that puts ink to materials, to improve the environmental, social and economic impact and performance of a business, product, or service. Conestoga dpi shows how printing is changing to adapt to the needs of our environment.

Conestoga dpi (Click for video)


Conestoga dpi LLC

Why focus on sustainability in print?

Waste Statistics

What does sustainability in print mean?

What makes a printing company green?

Evaluating your green business

Tips for businesses

Digital Printing

Ink in the Printing Industry

Types of Inks


Forest & Paper

Recycled Paper

Specific Types of Paper


FSC(Forest Stewardship Council)

SFI(Sustainable Forestry Initiative)

American Forest & Paper Association

Carbon Disclosure Project

Global Reporting Initiative

Recycling statistics on a college campus

Recycling on a college campus

Recycling at Millersville University

Starting a recycling program

Conestoga dpi LLC

  • Conestoga dpi partners with businesses and creative agencies to design and produce on-demand printing and large format signage for events, trade shows and point of purchase displays.
  • They deliver eco-friendly services with the highest image quality in the printing industry and offer the broadest range of recycled and biodegradable materials in the area.
  • Conestoga dpi actually never transitioned to green printing methods, what they had in place was considered green when the slogan became popular.
  • They have recently added a piece of equipment that they could have used for a long time but only recently did it come available with earth friendly inks so they finally made the move to purchase one.
  • The biggest change in offering green options is the reduced cost and greater availability of materials like biodegradable and recyclable banner vinyl and recycled pvc boards to print on.
  • The new facility has an abundance of natural light reducing our need for electricity and or our computers and monitors are Energy Star rated. They also use clean domestic natural gas, instant on water heating systems and motion sensors that will turn off the lights if there is no movement in the room.

Owner Shawn O'Neal works on a large format project.

    • Types of Printers Conestoga Dpi Uses

      1. The digital color press for postcards, posters and brochures- no paper waste, print exactly what you need. The color toner uses non toxic elements unlike traditional inks do.

      2. Aqueous Inkjet Printer for indoor posters and fine art prints. Uses water as ink carrier instead of petroleum base.

      3. UV Cured Inkjet Printing for direct to board applications - Uses UV light to instantly cure/ dry ink so no VOC's are released during drying. Also reduces material needs for mounted graphics.

      4. Eco-solvent Printing for sign and banners - This process was traditionally very bad from a eco-friendly point of view but the new Epson inks we use have drastically reduced VOC's and nickel compounds which are a known carcinogen.

    • Types of Materials Conestoga Dpi Uses

      1. Digital color press for postcards, posters and brochures- no paper waste, print exactly what you need. The color toner uses non toxic elements unlike traditional inks.

      2. Aqueous Inkjet Printer for indoor posters and fine art prints. Uses water as ink carrier instead of petroleum base substance.

      3. UV Cured Inkjet Printing for direct to board applications - Uses UV light to instantly cure/ dry ink so no VOC's are released during a drying period. Also reduces material needs for mounted graphics such as vinyl and lamination.

      4. Eco-solvent Printing for sign and banners - This process was traditionally very bad from a eco-friendly point of view but the new Epson inks we use have drastically reduced VOC's and nickel compounds which are a known carcinogen.

        • Types of Materials Conestoga Dpi Uses

      1. Biodegradable Bioflex banner material will breakdown over 5 years in a managed landfill.

      2. Recycled Materials - Materials such as PVC and Styrene used heavily in grocery stores and retail stores are becoming available with high recycled content.

      3. Tyvek banner material is returned when the banner is not needed anymore and ground down and turned into decking material like TREX decking.

      4. Papers - All current papers are FSC certified as well as high in post consumer content.
      "Our hope is that a dual focus on customer service and sustainable technology will result in long term growth and continued customer loyalty."
      (S O'Neal, personal communication, November 3, 2009)

      For further information, contact their website at, follow them on Twitter @conestoga_dpi or visit them at: 181 E. Stiegel St. Suite 100 Manheim PA 17545 717-665-0298

Why focus on sustainability in print?

      • We must focus on sustainability in print because publishing, printing, and packaging are among the largest industrial users of energy in the world.
      • Paper manufacturing alone is responsible for the third largest consumption of fossil fuels worldwide
        • This industry is heavily dependent on petrochemicals and paper resulting in large amounts of wasted paper.
        • The chemicals, without intrusion from the regulation of the government, will continue to emit millions of tons of greenhouse gases into our environment.
        • Overall, printing involves solvents, dyes, varnishes, chlorine, and many other hazardous chemicals that will continue to weaken our environment.

Waste Statistics

      The United States is one of the leading countries in technology, excess, and waste. A study done in 2008 proved that the United States recycles just about 28% of its waste. This statistic is disappointing, but compared to a decade ago, is a lot larger.

      • The United States makes up about five percent of the world’s population, and is the world’s largest trash producing country!
        • Statistically, this puts the country at producing 40% of the worlds waste.
          • Americans' total yearly waste would fill a convoy of garbage trucks long enough to wrap around the Earth six times and reach halfway to the moon. It is estimated that this year 222 million tons of waste will be generated by Americans.
          • Since 1950, people in the United States have used more resources than any generation who ever lived before them.
          • The U.S. Postal Service delivers more than 87 billion pieces of direct mail (advertising andpromotional mail) every year.

What does sustainability in print mean?

      • Most companies look at sustainability in print using three commonly known elements.

      1.) Product

      a. Referred to as any of the materials that might be used in your process.

      b. It could involve anything from the substrate used, to inks and adhesives.

      2.) Process

      a. Involves anything that is used to produce the product.

      b. Examples; Press, or post-press equipment or supporting technology.

      3.) Envelope

      a. Can involve the building, grounds, energy consumption, employees or any other supporting activities.

What makes a printing company green?

      It is easy to say that you are taking the steps to become more environmentally friendly, but how exactly do you do this in the printing industry? Sustainable printing business practices are gaining in popularity, as are the measures and certifications to be a verifiable "green business." Many printing companies believe that they "go green," by reducing their total environmental footprint, but it goes far beyond this.

      Companies can demonstrate themselves as a green printing company by becoming credible through many associations that measure and validate green printing. Let’s start out with the association named the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership, also known to people as SGP. (

      The five W’s

      • Who can be certified by SGP?: SGP is open to printing firms, and to date, five printing facilities have earned the certification, while 25 await approval.
      • Where: SGP does certification in the United States and Canada.
      • When: Began in 2007
      • What:An association that improves overall operating efficiency.
      • Why: Created to promote sustainable forest management.

      Sustainable Green Printing Partnership’s main goal is to authenticate businesses and improve overall operating efficiency. A printing firm that is certified by the association reduces their environmental footprint and cuts operating costs. If you are designated as SGP certified, you are identified on their website and allowed to use or display the SGP logo. For more information on SGP, visit their website at:

Evaluating your "green business"

      Many businesses are beginning to look beyond cost, productivity, and print quality when adopting the techniques and qualities of green printing. Printing industries must address how they stand among other businesses.

      For a company to stand among the top industries, they must meet a growing demand for greener products. Fortune Magazine produced a list of questions to assess how green your business actually is according to standards set by the Forest Stewardship Council and are the following:

      1.) Is your company able to quantify how its print products and services are preferable to non-print alternatives-economically, environmentally, and socially?

      2.) Can you provide buyers with life-cycle greenhouse gas inventory or footprint analysis of your operations of the goods and services that you sell them?

      3.)Do you have a game plan to deal with radical spikes in the price of energy and consumables that are based on petrochemicals and fossil fuels?

      4.) Is your company prepared to address likely legislation to cap and trade greenhouse gas emissions?

      *Information provided by Graphic Arts Monthly and the Fortune Magazine

Tips for Businesses

      How does a business reduce the harmful environmental impact? Let’s take a look.

      1.)Incorporate social and environmental responsibility in the budget of the company.

      2.)Print with inks that have very low levels of volatile organic compounds.

      a. Use vegetable-based inks that have less than five-percent voc’s.

      b. Be aware that some vegetable-based inks do not have a low voc content.

      3.)Maximize recycled content in papers

      a. Use recycled fiber to make paper-->Reduces pressure on forests

      4.)Use Forest Stewardship Council or equivalent certified fiber.

      a. When having the FSC logo on your paper, you are ensuring that the fiber did not come from endangered forests.

      5.)Reduce Paper Usage

      a. Check your office to make sure your printers print double-sided.

      b. Try reading your e-mail’s right off of the computer instead of printing them out.

      6.)Reduce energy consumption in your building and offices

      a. Upgrade to efficient lighting

      b. Adjust computer settings to save power

      7.)Use paper that is labeled PCF, processed chlorine free.

Digital Printing

      • POD (Print on-demand)
      • Digital Printing has become a popular option in creating fine print work. More companies are switching to the digital printing because of a couple factors:
        • Pro’s
          • Reduces the use of resources through its ability to print in short runs.
          • Generally uses nontoxic toners or dry inks.
          • Eco-friendly design that uses less energy
          • Uses parts that are 90% reusable.
          • Standard trim sizes limit further paper waste.
          • Consume less electricity
      • Wide-format digital inkjet printers
        • Three major forms
          • UV-curable
          • Solvent
          • Aqueous

          *Lower operating costs, Excellent image quality, Faster printing speeds, Light-fast inks

          (S. O’Neal, Personal Communication, November 3, 2009)



Ink in the Printing Industry

      • Inks and toners are the second largest source of carbon black which is a by-product derived from the incomplete combustion of petroleum meaning that we need to make developments in the ink industry.

      • Four trends that drive the developments for the ink industry:

        • Environmental concerns
        • Increased use of energy-cured inks and coatings
        • Growth of digital printing
        • Increased demand for a combination of quality and productivity in inks


Types of Inks

      • 1.)UV/conventional inks

          • a. Contain a lower energy usage and no volatile organic compounds.
          • b. Instantaneous curing for immediate post-processing
          • c. Durability and high print quality
          • d. Ability to print on almost any substrate
          • e. Very important in large-format digital printing.
          • f. 25% of commercial printers use digital press machines (usually brochures or direct-mail pieces)
          • g. Provide excellent adhesion, gloss, and chemical and moisture resistance
          • h. Solvent and water-free
          • i. High investment costs
          • j. Potential worker exposure to UV and x-ray energy warrants
          • k. Twice as expensive then petroleum-based inks

      2.)Water-based inks


      b. Can contain a high amount of voc’s

      c.Used predominantly in screen printing

      d. Do not contain PVC

      e. Solvent is required in cleaning process

      f. Not as durable or glossy

      3.) Soy-based inks

      a. Contain a clearer base that produces more vibrant colors

      b. Less ink build-up on the printing plate

      c. Contain less solventàlonger drying time

      d. Not 100% biodegradable Solvent-based inks

      e. Offer durability for outdoor applications

      f. Don’t require lamination

      g. Opened up market for billboards

      h. Downside occurs when harmful emissions are released while the ink dries.

      i. Companies now offer mild solvent or eco-solvent inks for specific printers.


      1. Biodegradable Bioflex banner material

      • Will breakdown over 5 years in a managed landfill.

      2. Recycled Materials

      • Materials such as PVC and Styrene used heavily in grocery stores and retail stores are becoming available with high recycled content.

      3. Tyvek banner material

      • Returned when the banner is not needed anymore and ground down and turned into decking material like TREX decking.

      (S. O’Neal, personal communication, November 3, 2009)

Forest & Paper

      • 57.4 percent of paper consumed in the United States was recovered for recycling in 2008.
      • The United States forest products industry accounts for approximately six percent of the total United States manufacturing gross domestic product.
      • The paper industry generates more than $200 billion a year in sales.
      • The paper industry is among the top ten manufacturing employers in 48 states.

American Forest & Paper Association

Recycled Paper

      Pre-Consumer Waste: portion of paper that is made from material that is recycled, but was never purchased by an end user. Examples; scraps at a paper mill, recycled magazines, and newspapers that were never purchased by a consumer (Green Glossary, 2008, p. 54).

      Post-Consumer Waste (PCW): Portion of paper that is made from material that was purchased by an end user, discarded and then recycled. Examples of post-consumer fiber are mixed office paper and newspapers that were purchased by a consumer and recycled (Green Glossary, 2008, p. 54).

      Certified Fiber: Fiber that has been certified by an independent third party to ensure that it was sourced legally and that it meets certain governmental conditions (Green Glossary, 2008, p. 54).

      Elemental Chlorine Free-Paper that is processed without elemental chlorine but with a chlorine derivative known as chlorine dioxide (Green Glossary, 2008, p. 54).

      Processed Chlorine Free-Paper in which the recycled content is bleached without chlorine or chlorine derivatives. Usually bleached with hydrogen peroxide, oxygen, or ozone (Green Glossary, 2008, p. 54)


Specific Types of Paper

      1.) Green paper

      a. 100% PCW (post-consumer waste)

      b. PCF (processed chlorine free)

      c. FSC-certified and made using renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power.

      2.) Tree-free papers

      a. Kenaf, abaca, flax, hemp and sisal are all sources of tree-free paper

      b. Kenaf

      c. Emerging as the best alternative to wood pulp

      d. Mostly made into newsprint

      3.) Rock Paper

      a. Made from ground stone and nontoxic resin

      b. Very eco-friendly

      c. Water and tear resistant

      d. Biodegrades when left out in the sun for about six to nine months

      4.) Synthetic Paper

      a. Very durable

      b. Made from plastic, highly susceptible to heat damage and requires special inks.


      Quick facts--->Packaging for retail goods consumes over 30% of landfill space!

      There are more than 9,000,000 jobs and $850 billion in economic activity that depend on paper and packing. Nearly 140 billion in product sales annually, pulp, paper and packaging manufacturing represents a significant portion of the American economy. (

      • This presents an issue regarding how we package materials. When companies send things in packaging, they must meet consumer needs which a lot of the times can involve attractive colors and shapes. These new colors call for a wider range of manufacturing methods that create a higher risk on our environment.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)


      • What is the Forest Stewardship Council?

        • An non-governmental organization containing representatives of people including forest workers, forest companies, timber traders, and stakeholders.

        • Began when environmental organizations decided that voluntary governance schemes would need to be set up by people outside of the government to prevent irresponsible logging.

        • It was created to audit sustainable forest practices and encourage consumers to support practices by labeling forest products.

        • The FSC promotes:

        Environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable forest management.

        The FSC created global principles for its definition of what is a "well managed forest."

        1.)Tenure and use rights and responsibilities

        2.) Indigenous peoples and workers rights

        3.) Use of forest products and services to maximize economic viability and environmental and social benefits

        4.) Maintenance of forests with high conservation value

        5.) Environmental impact

        6.)Monitoring and assessment

        7.)Planning and management of plantations

        The FSC came about in opposition to governmental conditions and regulations on forests. Its principles and criteria have nothing to do with processes in the government. The rules prohibit the participation of governments in the organization itself.

        • Members are chosen from the environmental, social, and economic chambers that make up the FSC’s General Assembly.

        • The FSC also has the opportunity to give track to the origin of products through every stage of the supply chain, "chain of custody."

        • The chain of custody refers to the tracking of purchasers and consumers that label their forest products and say that they originate from certified and well managed forests.

        Forest Stewardship Council

Sustainable Forestry Initiative

        • Launched in 1994, began operation in 1995
        • Specifies principles, objectives, and performance measures of sustainable forestry.
        • Initiated by the American Forest and Paper Association, the national trade association for the forest, paper, and wood products industry in the US.


American Forest & Paper Association

        Background on the organization

        -Believes that balancing environmental, financial and societal obligations will ensure that forest products companies will be sustainable over the long-term.


        -Strive to ensure our resources will be plentiful and available to future generations.

        - Preserve and grow the economic contributions of the industry and its businesses.

        - Foster the well-being of the communities where we live and work.

        What defines the foundation of the organization?

        • Forest management

        • Efficient manufacturing

        • Energy generation and conservation

        • Fiber recovery and recycling


Carbon Disclosure Project

        The Carbon Disclosure Project was created in 2000 to assess greenhouse gas problems among companies.

        • Involved with 2,500 of the world’s largest companies
        • Main goal was to collect and distribute high quality information to motivate corporations and the government to take action to prevent dangerous climate change.
        • The project allows companies to voluntarily report on the greenhouse gases emitted by their operational and supply chain activities.
          • "The first step towards managing carbon emissions is to measure them because in business what gets measured gets managed. The Carbon Disclosure Project has played a crucial role in encouraging companies to take the first steps in that measurement and management path."
        • Companies now publish sustainability reports in accordance with standards set by GRI, the Global Reporting Initiative.


Global Reporting Initiative

        The Global Reporting Initiative

        What is it?

        • The GRI is a network-based organization
        • Mission of the Global Reporting Initiative
          • "To create conditions for the transparent and reliable exchange of sustainability information through the development and continuous improvement of the GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework."
        • Vision of the Global Reporting Initiative
          • Disclosure on economic, environmental, and social performance become as commonplace and comparable as financial reporting, and as important to organizational success.
        • Started the world’s largest sustainability reporting framework
          • The reporting framework is developed through a consensus-seeking process with participants from around the world.
          • The framework also includes the principles and indicators that institutions or organizations can use to measure and report economic, environmental, and social performance.


        • Benefits of the Initiativ

          • Gives the government access to performance among industries with respect to laws and codes.
          • Demonstrates that there is an organizational framework behind sustainable development.
          • Gives the government access to compare organizational performance over certain time periods.


Recycling Statistics on a College Campus

        • The average college student produces 640 pounds of solid waste each year, including 500 disposable cups and 320 pounds of paper.

        • There is a significant spike in the universities solid waste every April and May, when students gear up to leave campus.

        • In 1993, the Universities registered as much as 50 tons more waste than the average 180 tons throughout the year.

        • Campuses offering reusable mugs and drink discounts have seen disposable waste decrease by as much as 30%.

Recycling on a College Campus

        Items that are successfully recycled on college campuses can include:

        Cans (Aluminum)Batteries Books Carpet Cd’s Computers/Computer accessories Floppy disks Fluorescent Lighting Glass Paper Phone books Plastic Bags

        Recycling Resources Campus Ecology

        • A program by the National Wildlife Federation Excellent source for college campuses
        • Provide four publications-
          • Refuse, Reduce, Reuse & Recycle
          • Hold workshops, provide internships, and social networking among students.
        • The College and University Recycling Council Provides a means for information exchange between high institutions.
          • Includes information about how you can learn collectively about waste management issues.
          • 150 colleges and universities are members

Recycling at Millersville University

        Millersville Recycling Center

        • The Millersville Recycling Center contains a staff that provides and promotes a clean community with user-friendly facilities.
        • A list of the things Millersville University continues to recycle are: corrugated cardboard (80.3 tons) mixed office paper (96.7 tons) commingled cans and bottles (63.3 tons) low grade paper (newspaper, magazines and phone books) (16.5 tons) scrap metals (32.6 tons) batteries (automotive and otherwise) automotive products (used oil, anti-freeze, etc.) wood waste
        • Last year at Millersville University, 300 tons of plastic, paper and metal materials were recycled. Because of this recycling, the university found themselves saving over $20,000 in land filling fees.


        • What, where, and how do they do it at Millersville University?
          • Every dorm has a container for cardboard
          • All of the office buildings recycle office paper: includes writing and copy paper, envelopes, notebooks, manila folders, most junk mail, paper-back books and hard-back books with covers removed.
          • Commingled containers: includes beverage and food bottles and cans, may be glass, plastic, aluminum, or steel. Plastic soap, shampoo, and detergent bottles are also accepted.


          • Thinking global, acting local!
            • Millersville University is participating in a "Rush to Recycle" event that began in October and will be ending Friday November 30. This is a state-wide recycling competition. Over the eight week period, it will be determined which of the 15 participating Pennsylvania colleges and universities can increase its recycling percentages by the greatest number. If the university is successful and wins the competition, they will receive recognition from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and will then have a sponsored social event. (

Start your own recycling program on your campus!

        Colleges in this era are now under strict legislation from local, state, and federal mandate to do some type of recycling, or to purchase products that are recycled.

        Ever wonder how you can start your own recycling program, but you just did not know how to go about it?

        1. You must find support for the program. Seek student leaders, faculty, operation staff, administrator’s to help you in getting started.
        2. Once you meet with these people, you can begin setting objectives and goals.
        3. The next phase involves your research. Research data about waste generation, how you reduce it, and recycling efforts that have already been made.
        4. You can also look at what recycling has been done on your campus already and who the leader is for it. Interview them and ask about their problems or successes that they have had with the program.
        5. Conduct a waste audit. See how much trash is generated on campus, or how much it costs to dispose of the trash. If you are in an environmental class, you may be able to do this for some extra credit
        6. Decide what kind of program will be beneficial for where you are. Also, decide what products you will be collecting. If you do go ahead with your program, it is likely that you will have to hand in a proposal to a head administrator.

        In a proposal you will find the following,

        a. Waste Audit

        b. Program goals

        c. Program for collection

        d. Program implementation with a timeline and steps

        Your proposal will then be evaluated. You may receive recommendations and feedback from the administration.














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