Plastic Film Recycling
Rose City Label partners with a local grocery store to provide plastic film recycling. Each week we get roll stock in on pallets wrapped with plastic, but we had no good way to recycle the plastic film. We don’t have enough to interest our trash hauler, so much of it was going to the landfill.
Thank You Fred Meyer Stores
Because our local Fred Meyer stores collect plastic grocery bags at their store entrance, we contacted them about our pallet film recycling problem. They have the volume and infrastructure to recycle very large quantities of this film. They were happy to add our plastic film into their recycle mix. Thank you! They consolidate plastic bags and film from several stores and divert it to reuse projects like plastic totes and park benches. Our plastic film is just one small drop in the very large bucket of recycling that was already in place.
Ask Your Neighbors
Sometimes your best solutions are right next door. This Fred Meyer is a great local store that I have shopped at my whole life. The location where we drop off is only 6 blocks from our shop, and it is very easy to drop off a few bags of plastic pallet film every week. You never know what resources you have right in your neighborhood.
This solution didn’t come from a recycling manual or a seminar, just a crazy idea to ask the question. You never know if you don’t ask, so don’t be afraid to think of new solutions. As long as you are respectful and have a good intent, we have generally found that the partner companies you contact are open to your ideas.
Small Things Add Up
We have made many small changes in our business since we were first eco-certified by Clackamas County in 2008. Not all of them have worked, but they all add up over time. Here are a few of our eco wins over the past 10 years:
- Full kitchen with real plates, cups and utensils
- Bike friendly for employee transit
- Low flow toilet valves
- Electronic meeting handouts
- Battery, bulb, cartridge recycling
- Plastic pallet wrap recycling
- Pallet give away to employees for home projects
- Pallet give away to neighbors and schools
- 100% wind power
- Many more!
Not all of these have worked out for us, but we are always trying new things. Our entire team is engaged and they frequently come up with our best ideas for waste reduction. Try some of these yourself and see how they work in your business. And, as always, if you have questions, please call us today. We love helping other companies on their green journey.
Presses Powered by 100% Wind
100% wind energy powers the presses, computers, and all services. We are doubling down on our environmental commitment. No more coal, hydro, or other electric power sources – 100% WIND powers everything. We briefly considered solar panels, but for now, being powered by 100% wind is right for us.
We Went All In on Green Energy
Our local power company offers partial wind power – essentially allowing companies to ease into this new power source. We went all in! Since we are making the commitment, and the power is still as reliable and safe as other sources, we went all the way. Last year we used 193,000 kwH. This year all of that will come from local wind generation in the Pacific Northwest. The cost difference isn’t much, and we wanted to make a bold statement to our customers, staff, and vendors. Rose City Label is all in!
We have written before about our OBRC partnership to reuse beer bottles, our pioneering use of water wash printing plates, and pallet recycling. We have been GREEN for a long time, and being powered by 100% wind is a natural extension of this effort.
You Should Join Us – It’s Easy!
We attended the 10th Annual Go Green! Conference back in October (click here for more info). At the conference, we met vendors that showed us how easy it is to convert to 100% wind power. We evaluated two different vendor proposal, but at the end of the day, the switch was very easy. We pay extra on our electric bill, and that money is used to purchase RECs (renewable energy credits). These RECs are used to subsidize the additional cost of clean power generation and to fund additional R&D for future green energy sources. There was no interruption in service, no change in reliability or safety, and the whole process took only about 30 days to complete. And, if something changes in the future (it won’t!), we can always opt out of green power – there is no long term commitment. It is easy to be powered by 100% wind!
Your local electric utility can help with the transition – for PGE customers, click here to learn about green power in Portland.
Our Program is Real
Green-e certification is an independent, audited program to make sure that the power we are paying for is, in fact, from the sources claimed. PGE has partnered with the right people to make sure everything is up to standard – no ‘greenwashing’ here. Learn more about the Green-e certification by clicking here. If you have questions about the program, feel free to call us for more information – we are happy to share.
Partner with a Leader – Call us Today
If you want to work with a truly green printer, please call us today. We work hard to recycle, buy green products, and publicize our eco-friendly efforts to be an example for other businesses.
Free Pallets – Come and Get Them!
Each week, Rose City Label generates excess wooden pallets. We would love to give them away to a business or individual that can use them. There are so many of them that they are tough for us to manage. The pile of pallets seems to grow and grow. A few times each year we have to do a major cleanup of our pallet area. We have free pallets – come and get them!
Buy by the Mile – Sell by the Foot
We generate all these pallets because we buy our raw materials in large, bulk pallet loads. We turn each pallet into 10-30 different custom label orders. These small printing orders usually go out via Direct Transport courier or UPS and some are even picked up by the customer in our office. Because we buy in large quantities (the mile) and sell in small, specialized batches (the foot), we don’t send out nearly as many pallets as we take in.
Odd Size = Hard to Recycle
We buy over 50 different materials from four main vendors. These materials come from all over the USA, but most come from Seattle, Vancouver, WA and California. Because of these different sources, products and shipping locations, we get lots of different sized pallets. Odd sized pallets are tougher to recycle – most recyclers only want one large pile of identical pallets. Unfortunately, we can’t offer that on a regular basis. Think about this when you select your vendors and products – when you have odd sizes of containers or pallets, it is harder to find a home to reuse these items.
Recycle at McFarlanes Bark
Because we can’t find a reliable source to reuse our pallets, the next best option is to recycle. Our neighbor McFarlane Bark takes our pallets and grinds them up for residential and commercial bark chips and ground cover. They have a process to remove all nails and other contamination so the finished product is clean, beautiful landscaping material. This is a great option for our odd collection of pallets and we are lucky to have them as a neighbor. Learn more McFarlanes Bark by clicking here.
Reuse is Better
Even though we have a good, eco-friendly solution to the pallet problem, we still have Free Pallets! Re-use without any grinding or shredding is a better, less impactful way to use the pallets. If you have a need for a few or for lots of pallets, we have them.
Call us Today!
This is just one example of the eco-friendly systems we have in our business. We work hard to reduce our environmental footprint in all areas of sales, office, production and shipping. If you have a good suggestion for us, or have questions about how you can improve your eco-friendliness, please call us today. We are happy to help.
Rose City Label GREEN!
We constantly tries to find ways to reduce waste, resource consumption, and our overall environmental impact. Even before our first certification from Clackamas County in 2009, we have had an eye toward green business practices. This photo shows one of our many reuse projects – a friend of Rose City Label used surplus pallets to build beautiful cages for his garden. We are very proud of this type of reuse project – we have had several other items like this featured on the blog in the past. Here are some tips to help you on your GREEN journey.
Begin with the End in Mind
The easiest way to get rid of excess material is to not buy or create it in the first place. If you can buy from a more local source, or choose a product with less packaging, you will have less clean up to do on the back end. Rose City Label is GREEN – we always consider the eco-impact of our purchases so we can minimize the impact before it is created.
Negotiate with Vendors
Often, if you work closely with your supplier partners, you can return boxes or pallets for reuse. We do this with our core boxes – we buy many, many thousands of cardboard cores each month. These are delivered in large corrugated boxes. When the boxes are empty, our vendor picks them up when they are delivering our next delivery of cores. This marriage helps save the supplier (and us) money, but also gets more life out of that one corrugated box. Since Rose City Label is GREEN, we try to ask these questions as we make supplier selections. Not everyone can accomodate your needs, but you will never know if you don’t ask.
Get the Word Out
The only way we were able to give away the pallets in the photo above is that we let people know – Rose City Label is GREEN! They ask us about recycling and our friends, employees, vendors and customers know that we are into recycling. Because we have been doing this – and because we brag about it – people ask for surplus materials. We are happy to share! Spread the word.
Sell Your Old Stuff
As we have upgraded our equipment, we have sold off old equipment through used equipment dealers. Often you can get rid of general use items on Craigslist or Ebay, but for more specialized equipment, you need to network with specific resellers in your industry. Get to know these people so you always have a ready buyer for your surplus equipment. Even though a particular item is no use to us anymore due to the quality of label we are producing, there are always smaller startup companies that can use your old equipment.
Because Rose City Label is GREEN, recycling is always the last option. It is much better than landfill, but recycling consumes many resources. If you have to, by all means please recycle all your paper, metal, wood, and any other commodity. Try the other things first, but if they don’t work, find a good recycler to dispose of your surplus equipment.
We Can Help!
Rose City Label is GREEN. A big part of that is helping customers, suppliers and friends on their green journey. If you need help or have questions, please call us today. We can help.
Rose City Label is collaborating with the Oregon Beverage Recycling Cooperative (OBRC) on a new eco-friendly project. If successful, this will bring Oregon recycling to a whole new level. Rather than crushing and recycling the glass bottles, this innovative new approach is trying to reuse bottles from selected breweries.
Beer Bottle Recycling
Here is a part of the text of the press release:
As a national leader in environmental initiatives and craft brewing, Oregon represents an ideal setting to create a refillable beer bottle system. Such a system would take beverage industry stewardship well beyond the success of Oregon’s iconic bottle bill program.
This program has technical challenges, so the OBRC has enlisted the help of industry experts including Rose City Label. Similar programs have been successful in Europe and we are trying to build on this success to make a world class program here in Oregon. Heavier bottles are being tested to ensure they are durable enough to be used multiple times after washing, and the label adhesive is also a crucial component that we are working on with the program coordinator.
Stay Tuned – This is a Work in Progress
We have several systemic and technical challenges to overcome in order to make this program a success. With the hard work of the advisory partners and the OBRC, we are confident that we will make steady, meaningful progress toward a more sustainable program for container reuse. Please check back often as we make progress toward this important goal.
Check out the Refill Program website by clicking here
Thank you to the OBRC and Our Amazing Customers
We were only included in this program because of a very kind recommendation from one of our customers. We will continue to work hard to earn your trust and stay on the cutting edge of eco-friendly business ideas.
Water Not Solvent
For many years, one of the last remaining chemicals in our shop has been plate making solvent. In order to make high quality photo polymer printing plates, the plate material must be etched away to remove the non-printing area and leave the raised print impression area. In the past this was done with a solvent and a brush, but not anymore.
New Technology – No Chemicals
This week Rose City Label became one of the first shops in the country to install a high quality Water Wash Printing Plate system. This system uses a different type of printing plate than can be etched with just soap and water – no solvent required. This is revolutionary technology that we have been waiting for for many years.
Faster Processing Times
An additional benefit of this new system is a 60% reduction in plate processing times. This means plates are on press faster, with less downtime. This is important for all jobs, but especially new, complex jobs that may require an adjustment on press. Now we can be back up in running in less than one hour! With no solvent to absorb into the plate, there is no need to wait for this solvent to evaporate.
Processing time is cut from 2.5 hours to 55 minutes!
Better Print Quality, too!
One final, very important benefit of this new system is a better quality printing plate. The detail and the image quality from these plates is superior to any previous plate we have seen. We tried several different technologies before we selected this system, and I am confident that these are the best printing plates that any label company has to offer.
Best Quality – Faster Processing – Earth Friendly
Thank you to all our customers that continue to trust us with their very important label printing jobs. Because of all of you, we are able to invest in the latest technology to grow and build our business. We appreciate everyone that has been with us on this amazing journey. We will continue to grow and innovate as we move forward into the future.
What can we do to help you? Please call us today with any label project – we are here to help.