Paper is the lifeblood of any printing company. Here at Printing Partners we go through hundreds of skids of paper a day, but not all of that makes it to the customer. Although we work to eliminate as much waste as possible, conventional presses need make-ready sheets to get set up in order to accurately print your final product. And if there is any finishing or bindery involved on your project, those will need some make ready as well to help calibrate the folders or stitchers so that your booklet looks exactly how you imagined.
What do we do with it though?
With all that make ready, and things like damaged pages or errors, there’s a lot of paper that we can’t charge clients for. And rather than throw it away, we recycle. On a massive scale!
Throughout our facility we have these massive orange recycling containers, that get filled up anywhere from multiple times a day to once a week, depending on the department. All of these are taken down to our receiving facility and loaded into a paper compactor, which is filled and replaced at least 8 times a month. But how much really is that?
Well, every month we recycle over 80,000 pounds of paper. That’s the equivalent of ten hippopotamuses! And if that monthly number doesn’t quite feel real, every year we recycle the weight equivalent to six and a half Space Shuttles! Or over 4 blue whales!
But paper isn’t the only thing we recycle. Our offset presses all use aluminum plates, which are etched with the image in order to transfer ink onto the roller and finally onto the paper itself. We’ve been working to eliminate the downtime and added labor of switching plates by increasing the lifespan of each plate, up from 40,000 impressions to now over 100,000 impressions, so we can save our largest customers time and money on large run projects. But, every job that is run conventionally needs plates, and if it’s not a 1 color job, it needs 4 plates per side, so those add up….
How much do they add up though? We recycle almost 29,000 pounds of aluminum a year in plates… To try and visualize that, that’s almost 1 Kia Soul per month, or 6 Rhinoceroses a year!
For us, we recognize that recycling is not just smart business, but better for everyone. Paper is one of the most recycled products on earth, and the average fiber can be recycled between 4 and 6 times, allowing more time for sustainable farmers to grow more trees. So much paper has recycled content in it now because it’s a viable source for manufacturers and costs less to convert than most trees. We’ll continue collecting every scrap of viable paper and recycling it to help ensure that long term paper continues being a reliable and renewable product.